Short list of casino investors TBA in February
The short list of investors for the establishment of an integrated casino resort in Cyprus will be announced in February, Energy and Tourism Ministry Permanent Secretary Stelios Himonas said.
Briefing a joint session of the House Committees on Finances and Commerce on the regulations for the operation of a casino, he said that in one month the Ministry will have the short list of the investors ready.
He also urged the MPs to approve the regulations providing for the operation of a casino.
During the first phase of the procedure eight investors submitted their offers
Himonas said the regulations for the operation of the casino resort had been submitted to the European Commission, which had come back with two questions concerning the protection of personal data and on restrictions on free movement of gaming equipment. These questions would be answered in cooperation with consultants from the ministry, he said.
Himonas explained that the regulations govern various matters, including the individual functions of a supervisory authority and control of the authority by the auditor-general.
Finance Committee Chairman and DIKO President Nicolas Papadopoulos questioned if there were adequate guarantees that the investor to be chosen would have the funding to implement the massive project.
“Based on the information we have, the three to be selected will be invited to present evidence on the elements of funding,” Himonas explained.
Trade Committee Chairman Zacharias Zacharias said deputies would take two weeks to study the regulations and seek clarifications or submit observations during the next meeting on the subject. The aim he said, would be for the House to adopt the regulations in February.
While the names of the bidders have not been officially announced, it has been widely reported in the local press that three companies were the frontrunners in the race.
As previously reported in the media, the three most likely bidders are: Hard Rock, an international hotel operator with casinos in Hollywood, Tampa Florida, Biloxi, Las Vegas, Northfield’ Sun International, a resort hotel and casino chain with extensive interests in South Africa; and Bouygues, a French company specialising in online gaming.