Mohegan Gaming Announces $9B Casino Resort Bid for Athens Hellinikon Airport

Posted on: July 4, 2019, 09:07h. 

Last updated on: August 8, 2019, 01:46h.

Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment, the casino unit of the Mohegan Tribe in Connecticut, is making a bid to be part of a $9 billion casino resort complex in Greece.

Mohegan Gaming Greece Athens casino
$9 billion could be on the way to Greece’s abandoned Athens airport by way of Mohegan Gaming. (Image: Jalopnik)

Greek conglomerate GEK Terna and Mohegan are teaming up for the project. The development plans call for luxury residences, hotels, yachting marina, and casino resort.

The partnership says it plans to invest €8 billion to bring the vision to reality. Greece is accepting bids for the abandoned Hellinikon airport, which served as the major air international hub for Athens for 60 years up until March 2001.

We are happy to announce our partnership with GEK Terna Group on the Hellinikon project,” Mohegan Gaming CEO Mario Kontomerkos said in a release. “We strongly believe that GEK Terna’s reliability, effectiveness and deep knowledge of the Greek market will help us fulfill our vision for the Hellinikon area, for Athens and Greece as a whole.”

“Our objective is to implement at Hellinikon a sizable investment … that will be a game changer for the local and national tourism industry,” the CEO concluded.

In addition to its domestic casinos in Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Washington, and Atlantic City, Mohegan Gaming is currently building a $5 billion integrated resort in Incheon, South Korea.

Economic Stimulator

Greece is presently home to several small casinos. The Regency Casino Mont Parnes in Acharnes is the largest with 700 slot machines and 50 table games. The venue is about 25 miles from the capital city Athens.

The abandoned Hellinikon airport is less than five miles south of the Acropolis. The ancient city draws more than five million visitors annually. The proposed site also sits along the Saronic Gulf, which is littered with resorts overlooking the pristine water.

Greece’s Hellenic Gaming Commission has been afforded one commercial casino resort license. The agency has repeatedly extended the deadline for proposals, with the current end date being July 31.

The country – fresh off a $260 billion bailout by the European Union, International Monetary Fund, and European Central Bank just three years ago – continues to search for ways to strengthen its economy. Tourism is the country’s cash crop, and adding a casino complex such as the one proposed by Mohegan Gaming is viewed as a no-brainer by government officials.

Kontomerkos says the project – if approved – would create thousands of jobs and numerous benefits for the Greek economy.

Bidding War

The repeated bidding delays by the country’s gaming commission has slashed interest among rumored potential casino operators mulling a proposal. They include Caesars Entertainment and Hard Rock International, the latter being the gaming and entertainment unit of the Seminole Tribe in Florida.

That isn’t to say Mohegan is the only player for Hellinikon. Lamda Development, a Greek real estate company, has partnered with Chinese conglomerate Fosun Group and Abu Dhabi’s real estate firm Eagle Hills to propose a $9 billion casino complex that would also feature luxury homes, hotels, and marina.