Melco’s temporary Cyprus casino receives 34,000 visitors in three weeks of opening

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Melco International Development’s temporary Cyprus 13m gaming facility, Cyprus Casinos (C2), has seen attendance rise in the first three weeks since it opened, raising hopes following a slow start.

Within its first three weeks of operation, over 34,000 visitors from 41 different countries visited the property, the first licensed casino in the Republic of Cyprus, while more than 6,000 visitors have registered to become members of the C2 Rewards Club loyalty programme.

“So far, the number of visitors has exceeded our expectations and we are very gratified with the response from our guests,” said Craig Ballantyne, property president of City of Dreams Mediterranean and Cyprus Casinos.

“We believe the accelerating attendance rate and strong performance of new members joining the Cyprus Casinos C2 Rewards Club is driven by the strong, positive word of mouth and self-discovery by the market.”

Ballantyne also said guests from 41 different nationalities have visited C2 so far. “By the numbers, the most visitors have been Cypriots, followed by those from Greece, Israel, Romania, Russia and United Kingdom. “The most popular games have been our state-of-the-art slot machines, followed by American roulette,” he added

Located in Zakaki, Limassol, the temporary casino covers 4,600sqm inclusive of a 1,300sqm gaming area, 33 gaming tables and 242 slot machines, a ‘Salon Prive’ VIP gaming area, a restaurant and two bars.

The temporary casino began operating on 28 June, however speaking to the CyprusMail at the beginning of July, Ballantyne raised concerns regarding competition from casinos across the border in the north, stating the first week of operations had been “below expectations”.

“We’re not the only game in town and we never have been, never will be,” he explained. “With a customer, it’s all about choice – you cannot insist they go anywhere with their disposable income. You cannot twist their arm. It’s all about the offer.”

He added that while there are about 30 casinos in Northern Cyprus, “they don’t have the same regulations as we do so it’s not a level playing field”. Ballantyne stated that Melco is currently in discussions with the authorities about the issue.

Melco recently announced it will open a satellite casino hosting around 50 gaming machines in the terminal building of Larnaka International Airport, within the coming months.

Larnaka airport’s operator, Hermes Airports, signed a two-year agreement with Integrated Casino Resorts Cyprus 75 percent owned by Melco – which will see the company provide “two specific locations in the terminal building of Larnaka airport in order to create a ‘satellite casino’”.

“The first location to be allocated is situated in the departures area, accessible only to departing passengers, whilst the second one is situated in the arrivals area, accessible to the general public,” said Hermes Airports and Melco in a joint statement.

The first location is set to open within the next three months, while the second is expected to be ready by the end of 2018.

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