Hard Rock, Mohegan Gaming Are Two Final Participants in Greece Casino Competition

Posted on: October 4, 2019, 11:37h. 

Last updated on: October 4, 2019, 03:52h.

The Hellenic Gaming Commission’s (HGC) deadline for gaming companies interested in bidding for a new gaming license in Greece has passed, with Hard Rock International and Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment emerging as the two competitors to build a casino at the site of the abandoned Hellenikon International Airport near Athens.

It’s final: Hard Rock and Mohegan Gaming are the only companies vying to build a casino at the old Hellenikon International Airport. (Image: Jalopnik)

The Greek government has been taking steps to get the long-delayed integrated resort effort moving, previously reiterating a deadline of Sept. 30 for interest parties to submit bids. That date for tender offers was pushed back slightly to Oct. 4, with Hard Rock and Mohegan Gaming, the casino and entertainment arm of Connecticut’s Mohegan tribe, stepping forward as bidders for a 30-year gaming license in the Mediterranean country.

The total cost of the Hellenikon Airport project is expected to be close to $9 billion. In addition to the integrated resort, another high-end hotel is slated to be on the property, along with a marina, entertainment area, conference center, restaurants and a sports complex.

The new conservative government has pledged to speed-up necessary licensing for Hellenikon and wrap up the casino tender, key conditions before Lamda takes over the project by the end of the year and pays $329 million in a first tranche for the project,” reports Reuters.

Lamda is the Greek real estate developer overseeing the Hellenikon project.

Finally, Some Clarity

News that Hard Rock and Mohegan Gaming are the two bidders for the new Greek gaming license ends months of speculation as to what companies were interested in the Hellenikon Airport deal. Previously, the competition was seen as a four-horse race, including Caesars Entertainment and Genting Malaysia.

Those two companies were said to be losing interest due to an array of bureaucratic delays, with Caesars ultimately dropping out of the fray a couple of months ago. After Caesars abandoned its Greece efforts, Genting Malaysia appeared to have an on-again, off-again interest in the Hellenikon plan, but decided not to move forward.

In late August, Hard Rock said it was willing to commit $1.1 billion to the project, promising to create 3,000 construction jobs and 1,600 permanent roles. Financial terms of Mohegan’s offer haven’t yet been revealed, but the operator is working with Greek industrial firm GEK Terna to be part of the Hellenikon casino deal.

Greek authorities are requiring the winning gaming company to include at least 1,200 slot machines and 120 table games in the integrated resort.

More Logistical Issues

Greek authorities still must render decisions on central planning and zoning at the Hellenikon Airport venue. Those decisions are expected to be released in the coming weeks.

Assuming no further delays, HGC will announce either Hard Rock or Mohegan Gaming as the winning party next month. The gaming commission has not publicized deadlines for when construction on the casino will commence, or when it would like the venue to be operational. But Hard Rock believes it can have the venue operational by 2021 or 2022 depending on when it can start construction.