Casino operator Caesars Entertainment has apparently bowed out of Greece’s Hellinikon license derby, which to virtually no one’s surprise is facing further delays.
On Tuesday, Greek media outlet Ekathimerini reported that the competition for the 30-year license for an integrated resort casino on the site of Athens’ old airport would likely face further delays due to the government’s inability to solidify its zoning plans on time.
The consultation period for the project’s environmental impact study doesn’t conclude until next Tuesday (14), after which the government’s joint ministerial decision on the project’s zoning plan still needs to be completed. The current deadline for interested casino applicants to file their binding offers is May 31 – which was itself a delay from April 22 – but the expectation is now that this will be pushed back once again, this time until the end of June.
The perpetual delays in launching the €8b Hellinikon project tender appear to have reduced the number of interested parties from four to three. Caesars, which was among the first companies to declare its Greek intentions, is reportedly rethinking its interest in the project.
Caesars infamously opted against pursuing a Macau casino concession back in the day and ever since has been desperate to atone for that gaffe by pursuing other international mega-opportunities. However, with new investor Carl Icahn apparently hellbent on selling the company in whole or in part, Caesars is apparently not looking to involve itself in anything that might further complicate its already messy balance sheet.
The three remaining suitors – Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment, Hard Rock International and Genting – have submitted their comments on the licensing tender and are all reportedly pressing the project leader Hellenikon Global/Lamda Development to reduce the proposed rent on the casino building’s lease.