NagaCorp Ltd, the Hong Kong-based casino operator of Cambodia’s biggest casino NagaWorld is reportedly continuing with its bid to acquire a casino license in the Republic of Cyprus based on the latest media reports.
This comes in the wake of Philippines based casino operator Bloomberry Resorts Corp., confirming last week that it was withdrawing its bid for a Cyprus casino license.
Bloomberry, NagaCorp and a consortium comprising two international casino developers Melco International Development, Seminole HR Holdings LLC, along with a local partner Cyprus Phasouri (Zakaki) Ltd were the three casino operators shortlisted by the Cyprus government for the first casino license.
When Bloomberry decided to drop out, many assumed that NagaCorp would also drop out but the company confirmed that it had no intention of withdrawing its bid.
The Seminole tribe operates the Hard Rock franchise of casinos, hotels and casinos while Melco is a major casino developer in Asia and Australia. Gaming analysts believe that they are the favourite to win the casino license in Cyprus. The license is being issued for developing and operating the first integrated casino in the country’s ethnic Greek region, located in the Southern part of the island. Government spokesperson Nicos Christodoulides has earlier said that the project was one of the largest development projects for the area and will have a major impact on the economy. Northern Cyprus already has several casinos.
The final bids were to have been submitted by Jul. 5 but NagaCorp and Bloomberry had asked for an extension due to the fact that they ran into difficulties with the land acquisition processes and official paperwork. The extension was granted even though it was opposed by the Melco and Seminole consortium. The final bids are now due on Oct. 5.
Local media has reported that NagaCorp may possibly be looking at a site in the Larnaca area, which hosts one of the country’s airports and is a popular tourist spot with beaches and a buzzing nightlife. However NagaCorp has not yet closed the deal according to local media reports but company officials have chosen not to comment on the matter as of now.
The Melco-Hard Rock group is said to be looking at land in Limassol which is the second largest urban centre after Cyprus and is said to be a cosmopolitan beach city.
The casino license is for building a full-scale casino featuring a minimum of 500 luxury hotel rooms, 100 gaming tables and 1,000 gaming machines. The company winning the bid will gain a 15-year exclusivity contract after which competing casinos will be allowed. The license is for 30 years. Additionally the winning bidder also receives the rights to develop three more satellites and slot parlours across the Greek area of Cyprus.