The opportunity of operating the first casino resort in Southern Cyprus has attracted interest from 13 operators.
Speaking after a presentation of the casino proposal during a meeting of the ministries of Finance and Commerce and the casino coordinating committee, Philippos Katranis said the bill would be voted on in Mid-January. If the bill is approved there would then be a period of three weeks before a two month long tender process would be launched.
Undersecretary to the President of the Republic, Constantinos Petrides, described the process as not so much being about legalising casinos but more an upgrading of the country’s tourism offering.
“Our aim is not to legalise gambling but to upgrade our tourism product,” he said, adding that the most likely delay for the bill’s approval would come from last minute changes being made to it.
The chosen operator will be allowed to select which district the resort will be located in, s well as two satellite resorts, and will be given a 30-year license, with a guaranteed monopoly for the first 15, in exchange for 15 per cent of the casino’s annual gross revenues. The annual gaming license will cost €2.5m for the first four years of operating, then €5m for the next four. The larger resort style licence will have 1,000 slots and 100 tables alongside 500 hotel rooms. Media reports out of Cyprus have linked names such as Caesars Entertainment, Genting and Las Vegas Sands to the process.