Melco’s first Cyprus ‘satellite’ casino opens in Nicosia


melco-cyprus-casinos-nicosia-satelliteLawrence Ho’s Melco International Development has launched its first ‘satellite’ casino operation in Cyprus as it continues development of its main integrated resort.

On Tuesday, Cyprus Casinos Nicosia aka C2 Nicosia opened its doors to Cypriot gamblers. It’s the first of the four ‘satellite’ gaming venues allowed under Melco’s exclusive casino concession with the Cypriot government while the company’s €550m City of Dreams Mediterranean integrated resort is under construction.

Melco issued a statement quoting Craig Ballantyne, president of both City of Dreams Mediterranean and Cyprus Casinos, saying the new 970-square-meter C2 venue featured five gaming tables and 50 slot machines. The presence of five gaming tables is something of a surprise, given that the original plans called for the four satellite venues to be slots-only, but bending the rules is par for the course when you’re the only game in town, apparently.

Melco’s second satellite casino is scheduled to launch later this month at the Larnaca International Airport. The third casino in Paphos was also supposed to launch this year, although the official release offered no timeline. Regardless, Ballantyne claims these venues will “significantly contribute to the efforts of the Cypriot government to combat illegal gaming.”

This summer, Melco launched its ‘temporary’ C2 casino in Limassol, which will serve as a stand-in until the permanent resort opens in Zakaki, the westernmost quarter of the Limassol municipality, sometime in 2021.

At first, Melco claimed the Limassol venue was performing “below expectations,” in part due to competition from the more loosely regulated casinos on the Turkish-controlled northern half of Cyprus. However, by September the company had changed its tune, saying the venue’s performance over its first three months had “exceeded our expectations.”