Bidders to invest € 500 mln in gaming resort
At least 13 potential casino operators have shown initial interest for the island’s first integrated gaming resort, with the deadline for the first phase ending on Friday.
Government officials told a joint parliamentary session of the Finance and Commerce committees that the bidders are waiting for the final bill on the operation of the casino resort to be submitted to the House by the end of the month, after which a selection process will see bidders submitting their plans some time by the end of February or early March.
The investment is estimated to cost about 500 mln euros and is expected to attract about 500,000 to 1 mln tourists a year.
The winning operator will foot the cost to develop the resort that will include a 5-star hotel with at least 500 rooms, but also 100 gaming tables and at least 1,000 gaming machines, in addition to “off site” licenses in at least four other satellite premises to operate up to 50 gaming machines each in other towns or resorts.
Hoteliers in all towns are vying for the single license that will have multiple benefits for the leisure industry, which is why many have joined ventures with international casino operators.
The government is expected to reap 10 mln euros from licensing in the first four years and 20 mln in the next four years. It will also charge a 15% gaming tax on all income reported by the operator.
The draft bill that will regulate the establishment, operation, function, control and supervision of a casino resort was sent to parliament just before Christmas, after it was approved by the Council of Ministers in early December.
The Ministry of Energy, Commerce, Industry and Tourism has invited interested parties to provide comments relating to the draft regulations, which have been posted on the Ministry’s website, www.mcit.gov.cy while comments can be sent by email to email@example.com until January 16.
The draft bill determines a single casinoresort operator, who may also issue sublicenses to smaller gaming operators in other locations.
This has sent all the towns’ tourism bodies and hotel operators into a frenzy to lure the operator, with one argument saying the location should be a seaside town, while others prefer the capital or even the mountainous regions that need a tourism boost.
The draft bill also lays down the ground rules for gaming, betting amounts to be allowed and screening of locals to prevent issues of addiction, as well as age limits and access.
The resort will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week and smoking will be allowed on the gaming floor.