No one’s pointing any fingers, but it’s either Hard Rock International’s or Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment’s (MGE) fault. Someone failed to deliver all the necessary financial data when applying for the sole license to be offered for a casino in Hellinikon, Greece and, since there are the only two firms still standing, it has to be one or the other. The screw-up could delay the government’s decision anywhere from three to six months and it looks like the Hellenic Gaming Commission (HGC) found another way to drag the casino project out further after the Greek government asserted that there would be no more delays.
According to the Greek news outlet Naftemporiki, one of the two firms included a letter of guarantee, as required, but it was “short by four days the prescribed length.” The project has already been delayed more than once due to controversy and political fighting over whether or not it should be allowed.
The HGC had stalled efforts to see development take place forcing extensions in the bidding process multiple times. When Greece saw a new prime minister step in, the New Democracy Party’s Kyriakos Mitsotakis, he vowed to make a number of changes to help Greece speed up its economic recovery and forced the HGC to quit dragging its feet.
Greece has, on several occasions, received bailouts from the European Union due to a stalled domestic economy. Provided no laws are broken, all politicians, regulators, decision-makers and any other individual in position of authority should jump at the chance to have any industry come in and help turn things around.
Lamda Development, a local company, is ready to get started on the Hellinikon redevelopment project, which is reportedly worth $9 billion and centers on the former site of the Hellinikon International Airport. This means more jobs, more commercialization and more opportunities for the country. Hard Rock International is prepared to spend around $1.1 billion on a casino resort, which would create several thousand construction jobs and approximately 1,600 permanent positions. Mohegan Sun reportedly has a bid of about the same amount, and the benefits of either company coming in would be huge to the local economy.
Once the dust settles on the latest delay and a winner is finally chosen (expect some politicians to help ensure the process doesn’t take six months), that entity will be afforded virtual exclusivity to operate the resort for 30 years. The property will be allowed to have around 120 table games and more than 1,200 slots, and must also include facilities for conferences, meetings and conventions.