Hard Rock International and Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment are among the five global gaming brands that have lodged an interest in the opportunity to create “a world-class integrated resort casino” in Athens, Greece. The former Hellinikon Airport, just four miles south of central Athens, is the site of the proposed destination, which would compliment a sports complex, retail outlets, business district and other leisure facilities.
Las Vegas Sands, Caesars and Melco are the other gaming companies that have reached out to Hellenic Gaming Commission to register their interest in the proposed development.
The consultation period for the resort ends September 10, when the Hellenic Gaming Commission is expected to issue a formal invite for proposals from casino operators. A 30-year operating license is available. Melco Resorts won the bid to develop Europe’s first integrated resort in the Republic of Cyprus for €500 million.
The Greek government seeks €8 billion in private investment, with the site and the casino resort investment at roughly €1 billion. The Commission envisions the resort development, dubbed The Hellinikon, including a casino, hotels and homes along the waterfront, plus a new marina. The Commission described it as “a project destined to transform the wider area of Athens and improve the lives of millions of residents and visitors of our capital city, enhance the Greek tourism product and become a growth engine for the Greek economy.”
The Seminoles are no stranger to international expansion. Hard Rock International has a presence in at least 68 countries.
Mohegan has also made its foray into foreign lands. Mohegan Gaming is building Inspire, an integrated entertainment resort at Incheon International Airport near Seoul, South Korea. The first phase of the project is scheduled to open in 2021. Casino gaming is strictly available to foreign nationals. Mohegan Gaming has committed a total of US$5 billion for resort development over 20 years.
And most recently, Mohegan Sun entered a bid for a regional casino license in Japan. Jennifer Ballester, Mohegan Gamin’s director of corporate communication, noted similarities between Mohegan Sun and the “Japanese regional resort concept,” reported TheDay.com. Namely she cited Mohegan’s success at operating in rural, lower population areas.“As a development partner we see much synergy between our development in Korea, Project Inspire, and our future resort in Japan,” Ballester wrote.
Mohegan Gaming counts five resorts throughout the U.S., with its flagship, Mohegan Sun, situated in a northeastern Connecticut. The others include Mohegan Sun Pocono in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., and Mohegan Gaming’s management of casinos in Atlantic City; La Center, Wash., and Marksville, La.
“Mohegan Sun is located in a very remote and rural area in southeast Connecticut, and has little – in the way of local population – to draw from. Yet it is the highest-grossing casino resort in the Western Hemisphere, currently attracting around 11 million visitors per year. This one property creates one-third of the annual visitation of the entire Macau [tourism] market,” Mohegan Gaming CEO Mario Kontomerkos has said.