The groundbreaking ceremony for a 550-million euro ($649.27 million) casino expected to rival the best in Europe or anywhere in the world is scheduled for June 8 at the southern Cypriot coast city of Limassol.
It’s the work of Hong Kong billionaire Lawrence Ho and will be called City of Dreams Mediterranean with hopes to lure big-time gamblers not just from Europe but from Asia who are keen to travel to Cyprus and the European Union.
The Cyprus casino resort is to be developed by a consortium of Ho’s Melco and Cyprus’ Phassouri (Zakaki) which won an exclusive license.
Cypriot authorities project that the resort could attract an additional 300,000 visitors a year boosting economic output by a further 700 million euros ($826.34 million) annually, about 4 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product by its second year of operation.
The facility though isn’t expected to open its doors until 2021 but will bring a windfall, President Nicos Anastasiades said, bringing in as much as 4 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of 16.57 billion euros ($19.8 billion).
Ho said additionally that the company would launch soon temporary gaming facilities in Cyprus.
“The temporary facilities are due to open in the summer. We have exciting times ahead. And in two and a half years, the permanent integrated resort will open,” said the Melco International CEO.
Geoffrey Davis, Chief Financial Officer of Melco International, told GGRAsia that, “There’s a temporary facility (scheduled to open) in June,” speaking on the sidelines of the Japan Gaming Congress in Tokyo.
“City of Dreams Mediterranean will showcase our ability to customise our integrated resort development in a way that makes the integrated resort appropriate for the individual market,” he said.
The Melco International-led consortium received in June 2017 a 30-year casino licence from the Republic of Cyprus government. The initial single licence also allows the holder to build a satellite casino and three slot parlors in Nicosia, Larnaca, Famagusta and Paphos.
“Asian tourists will be able to recognize our brand and as time develops they could be attracted to Cyprus,” Ho said earlier this year. “Melco as a company attracts sophisticated customers, middle and upper class customers.” Other targets include big rollers from the nearby Middle East.
“Our government’s aim is the creation of a complete casino resort that will be paramount in Europe and one of the best in the world,” Anastasiades said at a presentation of the resort plans.
The City of Dreams Mediterranean casino resort is forecast to create 4,000 construction jobs, employ another 2,500 permanent staff and bring in an additional 300,000 tourists annually from Europe and elsewhere.