Mohegan Gaming Reveals Plan For Greece Integrated Resort at Hellenikon International Airport Site

Posted on: October 8, 2019, 02:57h. 

Last updated on: October 8, 2019, 04:34h.

Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment (MGE), the casino operating unit of Connecticut’s Mohegan tribe, on Tuesday officially unveiled its plans for an integrated resort at the site of the Hellenikon International Airport near Athens.

Mohegan Sun operator Mohegan Gaming has big plans if it wins a bid to build a Greece casino. (Image: Middletown Press)

The company, which currently operates seven gaming properties, including the namesake Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Conn.. is promoting plans for a venue known as Inspire Athens. Mohegan Gaming uses the Inspire brand at its integrated resort in Incheon, South Korea.

If the company is selected as the winning bidder to construct a casino at the site of the Hellenikon Airport, which hasn’t been used for air travel since 2001, it’s promising to build two skyscrapers to house a gaming area and high-end hotel.

We are ready to begin as soon as we receive all the necessary approvals,” said Mohegan Gaming CEO Mario Kontomerkos, speaking in an interview with Reuters. ““We want to start as fast as possible.”

Kontomerkos has reportedly visited Greece several times this year to push his company’s Hellenikon effort.

As reported last week, Mohegan Gaming and Hard Rock International are the final two competitors for the 30-year Greek gaming license, after Caesars Entertainment and Genting Malaysia dropped out of the fray.

The Hellenic Gaming Commission’s (HGC) is expected to announce a winning party in November.

Conflicting Numbers

What is clear is rehabbing the Hellenikon Airport into a tourist destination will cost about $9 billion and that the HGC wants whatever company that wins the bidding process to feature at least 1,200 slot machines and 120 table games in its gaming area.

The $9 billion figure includes additional property enhancements, such as construction of a convention center, marina, dining areas, and sports center. From there, numbers among the competitors seem to conflict.

For example, Hard Rock is pitching a $1.1 billion casino plan that would create 3,000 construction and 1,600 permanent roles. MGE, which is working with Greek industrial company GEK Terna to be part of the Hellenikon project, hasn’t revealed an official price tag, but Kontomerkos said 7,000 jobs could be created.

The rivals have a similar timeline for when they believe the Hellenikon Airport casino will be operational. Hard Rock has previously said it can have the venue up and running by 2021 or 2022, depending upon when construction starts, while MGE believes the timeline for a project of this nature is 24 months to 36 months.

Patiently Waiting

While some operators grew frustrated waiting for the slow-moving Greeks to grant necessary approvals to advance the Hellenikon endeavor, Mohegan Gaming has been patient in its approach. Kontomerkos said his company has been working on plans for more than two years, and it has already done land planning and covered architectural issues associated with the project.

In addition to Inspire in South Korea, Mohegan operates two other gaming properties outside the US, both in Canada. Last month, it was revealed that MGE will become the first tribal operator in Las Vegas when the Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, formerly a Hard Rock venue, opens late next year.