Casino bidders short-listed in Cyprus

Cyprus short-listed three bidders to construct and operate the first casino resort in the south of the Mediterranean island.

Cyprus.- Last week, Cypriot parliament voted by 29 votes in favour, one against and 16 abstentions to approve legislation governing casinos. This new legislation is a key part of the government’s plans to stimulate the island’s recovering euro zone economy.

Yesterday (Tuesday) the Interior Ministry announced the three preferred bidders chosen from eight initial bidders, which will now enter a second round where a “complete proposal” is to be submitted. The short listed bidders are Nagacorp of Cambodia, Philippines-based Bloomberry Resorts Corp and a consortium of Melco of Macau and Hard Rock Resort Cyprus. The ministry explained that the three were chosen for their experience in building and operating resort casinos and understanding of the Cypriot market.

“The ministry expresses its satisfaction with the level of interest demonstrated and looks forward to a successful completion of the process, as provided by law,” reads the statement.

The complex requires a minimum of 100 gaming tables and 1,000 machines and the operator can have a smaller satellite casino and another three-machine-only outlet. The project is being fast-tracked as the government needs to boost tourism and employment on the island, after it was forced to accept crippling terms for a debt bailout by international lenders in March 2013. The government expects the resort to open as early as 2018 if everything goes according to plan.