Just before noon today, international casino firms are expected to make their move for the licence to build and operate the first large casino resort in the Republic of Cyprus.
The Cyprus Weekly has learned that at least five of the 12 companies who paid €10,000 each for the option to bid are set to submit a full proposal.
As the Cyprus Weekly mentioned last Friday, interested companies are expected to be the following: Hard Rock from the USA, NagaCorp from Cambodia, a French consortium consisting of the huge companies Bouygues, Accor Hoer and Barrier, the Filipino company Bloomberry Resorts and the Russian Absolute.
The Cyprus Weekly understands that the casino firms will not submit the full bid for the casino today. Instead, they have to formally confirm their interest and provide the following:
A comprehensive profile of the company or consortium detailing their experience in constructing and running casinos in other parts of the world.
Their vision of how a Cyprus casino operation will be developed and what the mutual benefit for the consortium and the country will be.
Within 45 days from the official expression of interest, the government will have to announce the three preferred bidders, who in turn will have to submit their formal proposals within three months.
Most probably, the final bidder will secure the licence within 2016 and then complete the casino resort approximately two years later.
Companies are expected to unfold plans to build and operate a huge casino resort of at least 500 hotel rooms, 100 gaming tables and over 1,000 slot machines.
Insiders told the Cyprus Weekly that investors will need to spend a significant amount of money to acquire the land required, build the complex and buy the gaming equipment.
This fact has discouraged, to a certain degree, medium to large casino operators who initially had set their sights on Cyprus. To keep them in play, the government reduced the bid restrictions, aiming at the same time to encourage as many new investors as possible.
The Cyprus Weekly understands that potential investors have expressed concern about the casinos operating in northern Cyprus.
They raised questions with regard to money-laundering activities and pointed out the lack of a proper regulatory framework.
Our sources indicated that loose regulation allows casinos in the north to use a variety of perks to attract players.Establishments in hotels such as Merit, Cratos and Acapulco are said to exploit this advantage to the full.
There is a downside though. They operate in an unrecognised entity — a fact that generates concerns to punters about security and approachability.
Nevertheless, casinos in the north could provide competition to a regulated casino resort located in the Cyprus government-controlled areas.
On private land
The government has made it clear that the casino will be built on privately owned land.
This creates a huge opportunity for owners who have large pieces of land available. Landowners have been talking to potential operators to attract their interest. The Ministry of Commerce, Tourism and Industry estimates that a casino resort could add up to 500,000 more tourists in Cyprus compared with around 2.4 million today.
It will also create hundreds of job opportunities.