Greece’s Top Administrative Court Greenlights $8-Billion Casino Resort Near Athens

Greece’s Top Administrative Court Greenlights $8-Billion Casino Resort Near Athens

Greece’s Council of State gave on Thursday the green light to a previously proposed project for the development of an $8-billion integrated resort with a gaming floor near the capital Athens.

Following the announcement for the decision of the Council of State, which serves as the country’s top administrative court, the government published on its Government Gazette a statement allowing the national gaming committee to open a call for bids for a new casino license. The latest developments came after multiple delays in the project’s eventual realization.

In 2014, local developer Lamda Development secured a 99-year lease to redevelop a 620-hectare portion of land where the former Ellinikon International Airport had previously operated. Ellinikon had served as the capital’s international airport for over six decades, but was closed in 2001. In 2004, the area accommodated facilities for the Summer Olympics of which Greece was the host.

Lamda Development has partnered with a group of Abu Dhabi and Chinese investors, including the Fosun conglomerate to convert the area into a multi-billion, mixed-use coastal resort with hotels, residential buildings, food and beverage and retail facilities, different attractions, and a casino.

The project is watched closely by the country’s creditors as it is part of the government’s privatization drive under its bailout program.

Call for Bids

Now as the Greek Council of State and the government have given a go-ahead to the project, the national gambling regulator will be able to prepare and launch the tender process for the license required for the operation of a casino as part of the grand scheme.

Reuters reported on Friday, citing an unnamed source from the Greek Ministry of Finance, that an advisor for the upcoming tender will be hired soon. It is yet to be seen when the actual call for bids will be opened.

Casino News Daily reported last month that Las Vegas casino giant Caesars Entertainment Corp. has expressed interest in applying for a license and operating the casino portion of the planned coastal resort. The company’s main operating unit emerged from bankruptcy last fall. Caesars had previously pointed out that it would be looking to expand its global footprint to popular tourism destinations, once it closed its multi-billion bankruptcy case.

Construction of the coastal resort near Athens was originally planned to begin late last year, but multiple bureaucratic hurdles delayed the project.

Lamda Development has previously said that construction process could create over 10,000 new jobs. Once launched, the resort is expected to generate around 70,000 jobs in its first five years of operation. According to analysts the casino portion of the resort alone could generate annual gaming revenue of €700 million in the long term. However, the complex, with its gaming floor and non-gaming facilities, will have to compete with the €500-plus-million City of Dreams Mediterranean currently under development in the Republic of Cyprus.