Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment (MGE) announced Friday that it had withdrawn its plans to create a casino in Greece. The former Hellinikon airport plot in southern Athens has been the target for the new Inspire Athens, and MGE was chosen to operate the casino following a heated contest with Hard Rock International. MGE might continue as an advisor, but the company’s exit could also give Hard Rock new opportunities in Greece.
MGE Backs Off Greek Casino Plans
MGE released an announcement late last week, explaining that it had conducted an extensive review of its operations and future obligations against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic. It stated, “We concluded that we would not continue to pursue the concession rights for the Athens project.”
The operator added, “We are also focused on the large undertaking at Inspire Korea, which will consume the next few years. While we know this is a disappointment to many, it is the right decision for our company and its stakeholders.”
MGE was selected by the Hellenic Gaming Commission along with its GEK Terna Holding Real Estate Construction Partner to build the resort in southern Athens. The company announced in September that all equity ownership in Athens was transferred to GEK Terna, previously only a minority owner of the project.
MGE To Still Assist Project, For Now
MGE will continue to act as a consultant for Inspire Athens and offer its expertise as per its contractual obligations. GEK Terna is a Greek conglomerate that is reportedly in discussions with Hard Rock to form a consortium for the project.
MGE CEO Ray Pineault, last May, promised to complete the casino within 36 months. Pineault stated that the integrated tourist complex at the former Athens International Airport in Hellinikon was the first to include an integrated resort (IR) in Greece. He added that it is more than a casino; it was going to be a significant tourist investment and a landmark in the history of MGE.
“Hellinikon is a project that will change the region. It will attract many visitors on an annual basis and will bring a 10 percent increase in tourism in Attica,” he asserted.
Hellinikon Casino Resort to Cost Billions
It is estimated that the new property will cost several hundred million dollars when it is completed. Inspire Athens led the charge for the official green light of the Hellinikon resort project by the Hellenic Gaming Commission.
The concession is in place and the company must now pay $174.8 million to get the Hellinikon project underway. This new project will create more than 7,000 jobs and provide a significant boost to the Greek economy.
Once completed, the resort will include a large hotel, a huge conference center, many bars, restaurants, and a sports and cultural facility.