Hard Rock reportedly back in Greece casino project


Posted: Sep 29, 2021, 12:06 p.m.

Last updated on: September 29, 2021, 12:28 p.m.

After being rejected last year by the Hellenic Gaming Commission (HGC) in its attempt to bring an integrated resort to Greece, Hard Rock International could be back in the mix.

Hard rock
Hard Rock may be back in the mix for a Greek casino. GEK Terna needs a partner. (Picture: South Florida Sunshine Sentinel)

GEK Terna, the Greek company that won the rights to build a games room at the abandoned Hellenikon International Airport, is without a partner. This was after Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment (MGE) pulled out of the project. The Greek construction company is said to be discussing a partnership.

GEK Terna is listed as the sole shareholder of the Inspire Athens consortium. The winning consortium of the tender consisted of 35% of GEK Terna and 65% of Mohegan Gaming ”, reports the Greek journalist.

In January 2020, it was revealed that the HGC had gone for MGE’s offer over Hard Rock’s $ 1.1 billion proposal, a move the rejected operator called “laughable.” In May 2020, the HGC rejected an appeal from Hard Rock, paving the way for MGE, the Mohegan Tribe’s gaming unit in Connecticut, to move forward with the project. However, it was reported in June that MGE was either reducing its stake in the Greek project or leaving it altogether.

GEK Terna probably needs some hard rock

There is speculation that with MGE out of the picture, GEK Terna’s share in the airport casino project is now 100 percent. But the construction company probably doesn’t want that obligation, and they don’t have any experience operating gaming sites.

In addition, there are other activities on the site of the old airport that need to be maintained. The total cost of the renovation is estimated at nearly $ 9 billion. In addition to the integrated complex, the developers offer upscale residences, a marina, a convention center, restaurants and other attractions. Conclusion: GEK Terna may be talking to Hard Rock about their involvement, and the list of other potential partners is probably short.

Previously, Caesars Entertainment and Genting Malaysia were among the game companies competing with Hard Rock and Mohegan Gaming for the Greek license. But bureaucratic delays, among other factors, are believed to be at the root of these companies’ lack of interest in the project. Today, the “new Caesars” is squarely focused on the United States and is very unlikely to re-enter the Greek casino process.

The Greek government could help GEK Terna because

Previously, the Greek government was seen as hampering Hellenikon’s integrated resort effort. But it is said that the tone is changing and policymakers could sweeten the pot for Hard Rock by promising to speed up the licensing process.

Athens may be forced to do so as there is an upfront payment linked to the project of over $ 175 million, and with the Greek economy still shaking the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, policymakers may be motivated to secure a large-scale job creation projecting from the ground.

There are still rumors that MGE remains interested in the casino project in Greece. But if GEK Terna goes for Hard Rock, the Connecticut tribal gaming operator could be squeezed out of the picture.

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