Asian operators eye license opportunities in Cyprus

Five bidders, out of 12 who expressed an initial interest, are expected to submit formal official proposals to operate a casino on the island of Cyprus.

The bidders include Hong Kong-listed NagaCorp and Bloomberry Resorts of the Philippines, as well as U.S. operator Hard Rock, French construction giant Bouygues and Russia’s Absolute, according to a report in Cyprus weekly, citing sources.

These casino operators paid 10,000 euros each for the option to bid. Formal expressions of interest (EOI) started on Sept. 18 and will end on Dec. 18, 2015. Malaysia’s Genting decided in the end not to file, as did South Africa’s Sun International.

The license is expected to be issued in 2016, with the casino to be built in about two years, the report said. The operator will have the choice of building a temporary casino construction within the year to start having returns on their investment as soon as possible, it added.

The Cyprus government passed a bill in August paving the way for the first integrated casino resort in the south of the island.

The minimum requirement for the complex is 100 gaming tables and 1,000 machines. In addition, the operator will be permitted to have a smaller satellite casino, and another three-machine-only outlet.

The project is being fast-tracked to boost tourism and employment on the island, and it is estimated 25,000 jobs will be created by the integrated resort development.