ATHENS – With a dispute brewing over awarding of a casino license for the long-stalled 8-billion-euro ($8.83 billion) abandoned Hellenikon International Airport, The Hellenic Gaming Commission (EEEP) shut down the Rio and Alexandroupoli casinos for the next two months over debts owed the country’s social security system EFKA.
A report from EFKA said that the Rio casino had overdue contributions arrears of more than 25 million euros ($27.6 million) while the Alexandroupoli casino owed 12.5 million euros ($13.8 million.)
The gaming commission voted to impose fines on the casinos of Corfu and Loutraki as well for 75,000 euros ($82,800) and 5,000 euros ($5520) as well, said to be set related to how much they owe EFKA through the end of 2019. They had worked out a plan to settle their debts so escaped being shut down for any period.
Setting the stage for a likely court challenge, the gaming commission set aside a binding offer by Hard Rock International for a license to operate a casino when Hellenikon is developed, insuring selection of the other bidder, Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment from Connecticut.
The Florida-based Hard Rock lost out to the Connecticut-based Mohegan, which teamed with Greek real estate and construction giant Gek Terna to operate the casino at what will be the country’s biggest project when done.