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Six players for the Cyprus casino

Six major firms from the USA, Malaysia, South Africa, Cambodia and France formally expressed an interest to bid for the licence to build and operate a large casino resort in Cyprus.

Government sources confirmed to the Cyprus Weekly that there is keen interest in the process.

And insiders said that five of the six companies include the Malaysian Genting, America’s Hard Rock, South Africa’s Sun International, the Cambodian NagaCorp and France’s Bouygues.

These casino operators paid €10,000 and bought the option to bid for the casino licence. The formal period for companies to express interest (EOI process) started on September 18 and ends on December 18, 2015.

The government expects more companies to come forward, although sources said that it is too early into the process to estimate the final number or the actual strength of casino operators who will submit an EOI.

The players
According to government sources, the first impression of the scope and strength of the six interested candidates is positive. The Cyprus Weekly knows five of the six players and some of them are indeed operators with global reach.

  • Genting is a Malaysian conglomerate operating hotel and casinos in Malaysia, Singapore, Macau, Hong Kong and United Kingdom. Genting has visited the island to conduct initial due diligence, met with all the right people and established local representation.
  • Sun International is a resort hotel and casino chain with extensive interests in South Africa. It was founded by the acclaimed businessman Sol Kerzner, and it is probably best known for the Sun City Resort in Rustenburg, South Africa.
  • Hard Rock is an international hotel operator that also operates casinos in Hollywood, Tampa Florida, Biloxi, Las Vegas, Northfield Park and Punta Cana in the Caribbean. NagaCorp is the largest hotel, gaming and leisure operator in Cambodia, a company listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange.
  • Bouygues is a French company specialising in online gaming. The Cyprus Weekly understands that the company’s interest is supported by local actors.

The interested companies will be notified of the EOI procedure results 45 days from the submission date. This is the beginning of a process for a final bidder to secure the licence within 2016 and then build the casino  resort in approximately two years’ time. The operator will have the choice of building a temporary casino construction within the year to start having returns on their investment as soon as possible.

On private land
The government has made clear that the casino will be built on privately owned land. This fact creates a huge opportunity for owners who have large pieces of land available. They are being encouraged to talk to potential operators and attract their interest.

All major landowners have expressed interest to do business with a casino operator and the licence winner will have the final say.  A few months ago the prospects for a Shacolas-Lanitis joint venture in Limassol were looking up. Undoubtedly, though, it is too early to say where the casino resort will be located.

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