Two US casinos vie for Athens deal; Progress on Hellinikon picks up

Two US casinos vie for Athens deal; Progress on Hellinikon picks up

Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment and Hard Rock International have submitted bids to build and operate a casino at Greece's Hellinikon complex as progress on the urban development picks up.

In a highly publicized step, representatives from the two companies handed in binding bids to the country's gaming commission. Mohegan Gaming's offer is a joint bid with local partner GEK TERNA. An announcement on the winner is expected in six to eight weeks.

Greece is eager to show that the country is open for business again after years of severe economic problems and a change of government in July when conservatives New Democracy took office. However, the push for foreign players to invest in Greece took a blow recently when China's Fosun and UAE's Eagle Hills, withdrew from Hellinikon, leaving Greek Lamda Development to go it alone on the eight billion euro project, one of the biggest to take place in the country for decades.

Each of the bids from the two casinos is seen involving investments of more than a billion euros with a scheduled completion time of two to three years from when construction of the seaside complex starts.

Progress on Hellinikon, which will also include a national park 1.4 times the size of London's Hyde Park, is moving ahead after the Greek government recently signed two ministerial decisions on the project, overcoming some key obstacles. A third ministerial decision on Hellinikon is expected to be signed soon as talk grows that construction at the site, awarded to investors in 2014, could start early next year.

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