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Greece – Greece to launch tender for casino at former Hellenikon Athens airport

By - 26 February 2018

The Greek government has given the nod for a gaming committee to launch a tender for a new casino license at the former Hellenikon Athens airport.

Reports out of the Greek media claim that US casino giant Caesars Entertainment has already lodged its interest in bidding for a casino license at Elliniko.

Situated eight kilometres south of Athens, Hellinikon and an adjoining 337-berth marina span nearly 620 hectares and includes a waterfront of about 3.5km. A consortium comprised of Lamda, China’s Fosun Group and Abu-Dhabi property firm Al Maabar in March were awarded a 99-year lease for Hellinikon for €915m in March 2014.

Lamda plans to convert 620 hectares of wasteland at the former airport into luxury residences, hotels, a yachting marina and a casino. It will also include shops, offices, sports and conference facilities, museums, malls, cultural venues, health centres, educational and research facilities.

The casino will be located in one of the skyscrapers that will be built in the area and will have a gaming floor of 8,000 square meters, operating in an total foot space of 15,000 square meters. It could be the first Integrated Casino Resort in Europe, depending on when it opens. It will have to beat City of Dreams Mediterranean currently under development in the Republic of Cyprus to win that accolade.

Construction of the development will create over 10,000 new jobs with around 70,000 jobs being created in the resort’s first five years of operation. Annual gaming revenue is being pitched at €700m.

Eventually, the developers hope to attract a million tourists to the area annually.

“This is a major opportunity for Athens to create a truly world-class resort,” said Russell Kett, Chairman of London-based tourism analysts HVS. “We envisage a major integrated resort, the first of its kind in Europe,” he said.
Hellinikon was turned into a sports complex for the 2004 Olympics, but most of the venues built for the Games have rarely been used since.

The development of a major tourism project in Athens is a key conditionality of the country’s international bailout.

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