Larnaca air­port in frame for satel­lite casino

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

Melco are in fi­nal ne­go­ti­a­tions to seal a deal which will see them op­er­ate a satel­lite casino at Larnaca Air­port in early 2019.

Ac­cord­ing to Fi­nan­cial Mir­ror sources, the air­port is the pre­ferred lo­ca­tion for Melco which has the li­cence to op­er­ate casi­nos in the Repub­lic of Cyprus.

More ne­go­ti­a­tions are needed be­fore pen can be put to pa­per but it seems to be the most likely venue as Melco has ruled out the op­tion of hav­ing a casino on Larnaca’s Phinikoudes beach­front.

Like all the satel­lites – branded ‘Cyprus Casi­nos’ – the Larnaca venue – ear­marked to be up and run­ning next year - will be equipped with 50 elec­tronic gam­ing ma­chines but have no tables.

But the plans are to make it ac­ces­si­ble to all those ar­riv­ing at and depart­ing from the air­port.

The Ni­cosia casino will be the only satel­lite casino to have gam­ing tables along with the 50 slots.

It will be built in the area op­po­site Hil­ton Park in En­gomi where the Sea House café-restau­rant use to be.

It is sched­uled to open in Oc­to­ber, but this could be sub­ject to change de­pend­ing on how quick the busi­ness ac­quires all the rel­e­vant plan­ning per­mits.

Also due to open around the same time is the casino be­ing pre­pared on Ledas Street in Kato Paphos – again this will have 50 slots but no tables.

The casino on Ayia Napa’s Arch­bishop Makar­ios Av­enue – near the Faros ho­tel – is ex­pected to open in late 2019.

Satel­lite casi­nos are not in­tended to be fully fledged casi­nos, they will mainly serve as le­gal gam­ing venues to de­ter il­le­gal gam­ing and peo­ple cross­ing over to the north to gam­ble. These smaller casi­nos aim to hire a to­tal of 593 em­ploy­ees; 70 for Ni­cosia and a fur­ther 60 for the three satel­lites in Paphos, Ayia Napa and Larnaca.

A tem­po­rary casino will open in Zakaki, Li­mas­sol on June 28, be­com­ing the first to op­er­ate in the Repub­lic.

The casino at the old Or­phanides su­per­mar­ket site will op­er­ate while Europe’s largest in­te­grated casino re­sort -the City of Dreams Mediter­ranean - is be­ing built.

It is the first casino to open in ac­cor­dance with the new Cyprus Leg­is­la­tion and Reg­u­la­tions.

The Zakaki casino on 271 Franklin Roo­sevelt Av­enue, will op­er­ate un­til on a tem­po­rary ba­sis un­til 2021.

It has a floor area of 4,600m2, gam­ing area 1,300m2, 593 em­ploy­ees (75% Cypriot), 33 tables, 242 slot ma­chines and can ac­com­mo­date 1,000 guests. It will be open on a 24-hour ba­sis, with an ex­pected in­flux of 25,000 cus­tomers a month, there is no mem­ber­ship re­quire­ment, but en­trance is re­stricted to those aged over 21. Along with a VIP gam­ing area it has a restau­rant and two bars.

When it shuts down in three years’ time, all per­son­nel will au­to­mat­i­cally be trans­ferred to the In­te­grated Casino Re­sort.

Melco has in­vested up to EUR 15 mln in build­ing the Zakaki casino to guar­an­tee it kicks off with a bang.

Ma­cau’s Melco In­ter­na­tional and its Cypriot part­ner CNS group are be­hind the EUR 550 mln first casino re­sort.

The com­plex will have 500 ho­tel rooms with a gam­ing area of 7,500 square me­tres and other fa­cil­i­ties like an expo cen­tre span­ning more than 9,600 square me­tres.

It will ac­com­mo­date 136 gam­ing tables, 1,200 gam­ing ma­chines and 11 restau­rants and em­ploy 2,400 staff.

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