Greek lawmakers are moving forward towards the introduction of new legislation which may expedite the development of a casino as part long-delay €8bn Hellinikon resort project.
On 6 December, Greek parliamentarians debated a new Finance Ministry amendment to Law 4512/2018 which sets out the terms and conditions for casino operations in the country.
The amendment would see the establishment of a two-tiered casino licensing framework. Single-entry licences would cover operations tied to four-star hotels, would have a 15-year duration and would require a minimum capital investment of €500,000. This figure would rise to €5m after five years.
Wide-range casino licenses would require five-star hotel accommodations plus the development of at least one major non-gaming amenity, such as a golf course, convention centre, marina, or spa facilities.
These licences would be valid for 30 years and would require a €1m capital investment, which would rise to €10m after five years.
Greece’s current casino operators will reportedly have to re-apply to continue operating under the new system. Existing casinos will be given a deadline of 1 December 2019 to submit their new applications.
Speaking before parliament, Finance minister Euclid Tsakalotos confirmed that the proposals would enable the tender for the Hellinikon casino licence to proceed within a month.
Media reports in October suggested that only three US casino operators – Hard Rock International, Caesars Entertainment, and Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment – remained in running for the casino concession at the former site of the Ellinikon International Airport in Athens.
Negotiations to determine the operator have taken longer that originally anticipated and the final decision will more than likely not be announced until next year.