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The Greek-American CEO of Mohegan Gaming Believes the Tribal Enterprise Can ‘Inspire Athens’

Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment’s expansion in the Mario Kontomerkos era is happening quickly — both domestically and across oceans and continents. 

The Mohegan Tribe’s gaming arm recently made its presentation titled ‘Inspire Athens’ in the Greek capital city to demonstrate how MGE would build a world-class resort and entertainment complex that compliments Athens’ cityscape while being culturally respectful of its culture, history and the environment. 

At this moment, Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment (MGE) is one of two gaming behemoths competing to build a casino at the disused Hellenikon airport location near Athens, Greece. The other is Hard Rock International, owned by the Seminole Tribe of Florida. The winner will have an effective monopoly on gaming in Athens. 

The Hellenic Gaming Commission is expected to name a winner to build a casino and hotel with conference and sports centers by December.

It remains to be seen if Kontomerkos’ Greek heritage — and very evident affection for the country (during his presentation, he described how he “wept” over the pain experienced by the people of Greece during the economic crisis, reported the National Herald) — will give MGE a leg up in the competition. But Kontomerkos is also touting MGE’s selection of a top-notch architectural team, and the renderings so far are certainly worthy of awe. 

Architect Paul Steelman demonstrated how the proposed towers are modeled on Greek’s Caryatids and other cultural elements. 

MGE also brought a bi-partisan team of U.S. delegates to represent and support the Mohegan Tribal gaming empire’s proposal, including former White House Chief of Staff and past Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus and former U.S. Senator and past Democractic National Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd.

Kontomerkos said during MGE’s presentation, “This is a day of optimism,” and he cited the “direct, indirect, and induced” creation of up to 7,000 jobs, reported the National Herald. 

Kontomerkos came on board as CFO of MGE in 2012. In 2016, the company won a license to develop a casino far from its Connecticut-based Tribal homelands — in Incheon, South Korea. Kontomerkos took over as CEO in 2018, the same year the company announced it would partner with Paramount to install a movie-themed park at the resort, which is to be called Inspire. “We literally are 1,000 feet away from the Incheon International Airport, which is the fifth busiest in the world, 70 million people go through that airport every year,” Kontomerkos told HotelBusiness.com in June.

MGE is also seeking to develop a resort-casino in Hokkaido, Japan.

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