Mohegan Gaming Ready to Break Ground on $1B Greece Integrated Resort Casino

Posted on: June 18, 2020, 01:09h. 

Last updated on: June 18, 2020, 02:10h.

Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment (MGE) says it’s ready to break ground once given the green light on its more than $1 billion integrated resort casino planned for Athens, Greece.

Mohegan Gaming Athens casino resort
Mohegan Gaming will soon begin turning Greece’s former Hellinikon International Airport grounds, which later served as the Hellinikon Olympic Complex in 2004, into an integrated resort casino. (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

MGE, the gaming unit of the Mohegan Tribe of Connecticut, won a bidding war against rival US tribal and commercial casino operator Hard Rock International. They vyed to acquire a 30-year license to operate a casino on the former grounds of the Hellinikon International Airport. The casino is a component of The Hellinikon Project, an €8 billion ($9 billion USD) redevelopment of the airport grounds that measures approximately 2.4 square miles.

The Hellinikon Gaming Commission denied Hard Rock’s appeal in May that it should have been awarded the lone casino license for the massive complex. Mohegan Gaming says once it gains final approval, the company will act quickly to begin construction.

We have already done a detailed job to ensure that we start as soon as possible,” Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment CEO Mario Kontomerkos said last week at an economic forum.

The executive explained the company’s goal is to create the premiere entertainment destination in southern Europe. Mohegan has partnered on the project with local construction firm GEK TERNA.

Project Progress

Greek Development and Investment Minister Adonis Georgiadis added this week that the first phase of The Hellinikon Project will begin next month. Work will begin with site prep, which includes clearing the area and demolishing some 900 buildings and structures.

LAMDA Development was selected by Greek officials to reimagine the shuttered airport land. The Greek conglomerate has brought on additional investment partners, including Al Maabar from Abu Dhabi and Chinese conglomerate Fosun Group.

Mohegan Gaming is calling its Hellinikon project INSPIRE Athens. The resort is being designed by Steelman Partners, an international architectural firm that specializes in integrated resort concepts.

The property will feature a luxury hotel, entertainment venues, convention center, retail shopping, numerous restaurants, casino, and “comprehensive mix of premium amenities,” MGE says.

Kontomerkos believes the project is “more than an integrated resort,” but a “catalyst that sparks the entire development” of The Hellinikon Project.

Along with the integrated resort casino, The Hellinikon Project will accommodate additional hotels, luxury homes and condos, a marina, shopping district, office space, a public park the size of New York City’s Central Park, and a nearly mile-long beach.

Hellinikon International was Athens’ main airport until it was replaced by Athens International Airport in 2001. The new airport was built in anticipation of the 2004 Summer Olympics, and the former Hellinikon grounds were used for several Olympic competitions, including canoe and kayak slalom, field hockey, baseball, and softball.  

MGE Committed

In a recent interview with Yogonet, Kontomerkos says the coronavirus pandemic has only strengthened Mohegan Gaming’s core beliefs.

We have always taken a long-term, 13 generations view, which is a reflection of our Mohegan heritage and commitment to the Mohegan Tribe,” the executive explained. “This mindset is foundational to who we are and separates us from our competitors.”

Kontomerkos went on to add that the health crisis has only solidified the company’s way of thinking that a long-term investment approach is superior to chasing short-term gains.