Hard Rock International, the Seminole Tribe-owned entertainment empire, has appealed the Hellenic Gaming Commission’s decision to reject its application to build an integrated resort in Athens, Greece.
“Based upon the evidence gathered, Hard Rock believes the outcome of the initial decision was improperly determined. Hard Rock remains confident in its submission and firmly believes its proposal is the best for Hellinikon and Greece,” the company said in a statement.
The Greek government awarded Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment the opportunity to advance to the next phase of the tender process for the rights to build and operate a casino for 30 years at the site of the former Hellenikon airport near Athens.
Genting Malaysia is the other party vying for the casino license in Greece to debut Europe’s first integrated casino resort.
“We are confident that the judicial and administrative systems, whether in Greece or the EU, will recognize that Hard Rock International has been unfairly treated. Hard Rock remains supportive of the current Greek administration and is hopeful that Prime Minister Mitsotakis will personally take action to investigate the claims put forth in our appeal and work toward his administration’s promise of a business-friendly environment and a bright future for the country of Greece,” Hard Rock’s statement concluded.
The gaming commission rejected Hard Rock’s proposal on the grounds that it did not meet application guidelines, demonstrating an ability to finance and construct such a project.
“It is absolutely laughable to think that Hard Rock does not have the financial capacity and construction capability to complete the project at Hellenikon,” said Hard Rock spokesperson Michael Karloutsos.
Hard Rock’s appeal will set the already delayed tender process back even further. Arbitration could take up to a month to resolve.
Ultimately, the winner of the license will build a casino on a 1.2-hectare site. The future complex in Greece, about four miles outside of Athens, is being lauded as Europe’s first integrated casino resort, slated to feature gaming-integrated hotels, convention facilities, entertainment shows, theme parks, luxury retail and fine dining. The gaming floor will tout a minimum of 120 gaming tables and 1,200 slot machines.
Mohegan partnered with Greek construction company GEK TERNA on a joint bid to erect Inspire Athens, a $1 billion project. Mohegan Gaming CEO Mario Kontomerkos has expressed that Inspire Athens will “be the catalyst that sparks the entire development of the Hellenikon area into the coveted Athenian Riviera, forever redefining the modern identity of Greece.”