The major casino resort being built on the island nation of Cyprus is expected to add $838 million to the country’s economy each year beginning in 2022. That’s according to Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, who says the project, now known as City of Dreams Mediterranean, is expected to be one of the largest in Europe upon completion.

Cyprus casino economy

Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades believes that the City of Dreams Mediterranean could be a major driver of his island nation’s economy. (Image: Georges Gobet/AFP/Getty)

Built by a consortium that includes Melco Resorts and Hard Rock International, the property is expected to include 1,200 slot machines, 136 gaming tables, a five-star hotel, and a convention center.

“Our government’s aim is the creation of a complete casino resort that will be paramount in Europe and one of the best in the world,” Anastasiades said.

Building Up Cyprus

If the resort does manage to contribute as much as government officials are hoping, it would represent about four percent of the total economy in Cyprus.

The construction itself could be a major boost to the local economy. Officials forecast that the City of Dreams Mediterranean will create 4,000 construction jobs while being built, along with employing 2,500 permanent staff once the facilities are up and running.

The hope is to bring in 300,000 new visitors every year to a nation that already has a flourishing tourism sector.

“Our goal is the improvement of incoming tourism, increasing arrivals, and average spending per capita, and also to see this contribute to the ongoing efforts to address the problem of seasonality in the Cypriot tourism industry,” said Yiorgos Lakkotrypis, Cyprus’ Minister of Energy, Commerce, Industry, and Tourism.

Gambling Should Open Up by Summer

The casino, which will be the first in the republic of Cyprus, will be located in the resort town of Limassol. The venue will be operated under a 30-year license, with a monopoly for the site being guaranteed for the first 15 years of that term.

While the completed project will not open until at least 2020, tourists and locals can expect to see gambling come to the island much sooner. A temporary casino building is expected to open in Limassol by June, giving visitors a small taste of what they can expect when the City of Dreams Mediterranean launches.

In addition, there are four satellite venues that were also approved alongside the major resort. The capital city of Nicosia will feature a mini-casino, while slots parlors will be opened in Larnaca, Paphos, and Famagusta. These four facilities are all expected to begin operations sometime in the middle of this year.

While the Republic of Cyprus is new to casino gambling, the northern part of the island, which is administered by the self-declared Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, features many casinos and smaller gaming venues.

There are even some casino gaming options in the UN buffer zone that exists between the two regions.

Where is Cyprus, Anyway?

Set between a hotbed of politically charged countries, including Syria, Israel, and Egypt, the island nation of Cyprus sits just to the southeast of Greece, and to the south of Turkey. Considered a bridge culture between East and West, Cyprus boasts a healthy per capita economy, in comparison to many of the countries around it, and is ranked as #23 in the “Where to Be Born” Index (previously called the “Quality of Life” Index).