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Julie Moraine July 6, 2019 3 min read
Mohegan Wins Hellinikon Casino Bid in Greece
- Mohegan Gaming successfully secures casino bid
- The initial investment is estimated at EUR8 billion
- Mohegan beats all other operators
GEK Terna and Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment have won a bid to develop a casino project at the defunct Greece airport Hellinikon.
GEK Terna and Mohegan Succeed with Greece Casino Bid
On Thursday, GEK Terna, a Greece-based contractor revealed plans to build a new EUR8-billion project on the Athens coastline in cooperation with U.S. tribal casino brand Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment. The project focuses on the now-abandoned Hellinikon in Athens, Greece turning the area into a series of luxury properties, from residences to hotels, to yachting marina, to the much-anticipated casino project.
The Mohegan-backed project has been long in the pipeline, despite local opposition from Greece’s regulator which has shut down the plans three times. However, the operator has been successful in making a final push by offering EUR30 million and gain permission to run the resort in the next 30 years.
Mohegan Gaming has had to assuage fears that the arrival of its project in Greece would lead to environment damage as well as threaten the cultural heritage of the country by cheapening it with a casino project in the vicinity. Development of the project was originally hindered by local authorities who insisted for the project to be vetted by the Greece Ministry of Culture before a formal decision was made.
Mohegan Gaming also had run-ins with the government having been accused of intentionally trying to maximize profits at the expense of locals. Beyond investing in its own properties, Mohegan has also been supplying other casino projects.
Other Casino Brands on the Block
MGE-Terna’s success is not entirely left to chance either, as the pair was among the first to express interest in developing the casino project. Other operators reportedly showed interest in developing a casino project near Hellinikon, but either lost interest or couldn’t propose good terms of the deal.
These names of previous bidders include Hard Rock International, Genting and Caesars Entertainment which have been beaten by Mohegan on the final stretch. Caesars gradually lost interest in anticipation of its merger with Eldorado.
MGE CEO Mario Kontomerkos has lauded Terna’s “reliability, effectiveness and deep knowledge of the Greek market will help us fulfill our vision for the Hellinikon area.”
GEK Terna Group CEO George Peristeris was also pleased with the opportunity to be cooperating with a renowned company such as Mohegan Gaming focusing on gaming. The bidding process has been pushed back three times, for April 22, June 28, and finally July 31 because of political strife within the government.
A quintessential tribal operator, Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment hasn’t backed down from pursuing its international ambitions, adding new markets and pushing on with expansion. The operator is also present in South Korea with a new project in Incheon.