Even though Hard Rock International has withdrawn from the €500-million plan for the construction of the very first casino resort ever in the Republic of Cyprus, their exit has not made any significant dent/problem on the progress of the project, and in fact things are going smoothly, a local gambling regulator has said.
President of the Cypriot National Gaming Commission Christos Mavrellis has stated to Xinhaunet, a Chinese news media outlet, that the project’s materialization is going smoothly even if one of its original partners has decided to walk out.
This October, a group of investors composed of renowned international casino operators Melco International Development, Hard Rock International and local partner CNS Group were chosen as the preferred bidder for the construction of the first ever casino resort in the Mediterranean island of Cyprus. Please note that only Melco, Hard Rock and their partner were the only bidders to have successfully applied for attaining the required approval from Cypriot financial and gambling regulators.
It was in late June that the deal between the group of investors and the local officials was signed. Unfortunately, Hard Rock, which operates various casino properties in the United States and has been interested in expanding its global presence, announced that it was backing out of the agreement the very next day that the deal was signed.
Therefore, Hard Rock sold its share in the development to its partner Melco, and so Melco became the biggest stakeholder in the venture. Owned by casino magnate Lawrence Ho, the Hong Kong-listed company currently holds 70.74% stake in the upcoming first-ever casino resort in Cyprus. The project has also been dubbed the largest casino resort in Europe.
Mavrellis emphasized that Hard Rock’s exit has not in any way halted the progress of the project and things are going smoothly. The gambling regulator explained that while the main complex is still under construction, a temporary casino shall be opened in Limassol, a popular destination over the past couple of years, and will be home to Cyprus’ first-ever casino.
The casino developer will also build a smaller-scale satellite casino in the capital of Nicosia and three slot pubs in the Larnaca, Paphos and Famagusta districts. The Famagusta district has some of Cyprus’ most popular tourist spots, whereas the districts of Paphos and Laranca each have an international airport within their territories.
Once the developers obtain all the needed town-planning and related permissions, Melco and its local partner CNS Group shall be okay to finally launch the Limassol-based temp casino and the four other satellite venues mentioned above.
The main casino floor and the other parts of the casino resort will most likely not be operational before 2019, as it is still unknown whether the developers shall be able to meet that deadline.