Over a delay to the awarding of a casino license for Hellenikon Airport, US casino operators Mohegan Gaming and Hard Rock International are warning to sue the Greek government.
The project costing $8.8 billion, is part of renovation plan for the long-neglected airport south of Athens and the largest foreign investment in Greece for a decade.
However, the two casino operators have become irritated by the latest delay, which has been credited to a glitch with the paperwork.
Supposedly, one of the two bidders — the tender committee firstly declined to say which — submitted a letter of guarantee in its application that did not meet official requirements.
Casino.org informs that in spite of the government’s keenness to get the long-delayed project started, there are doubts the mistake could add weeks to the process, as the committee gives time to the candidates to make clarifications to their applications. This month authorities had hoped to announce the winner.
Hard Rock’s Error
BusinessDaily.gr reported this week that Hard Rock was the wrongdoer and that the submission error could result in the operator being disqualified from the process.
Hard Rock went on the defensive immediately, threatening legal action in case it is excluded.
Meanwhile, Mohegan Gaming — whose application ticked the official boxes — has issued a similar threat, indicating it would now sue if Hard Rock wins the tender.
This is a possible headache for Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who intends to start work before the end of the year. Until a casino developer is chosen, the wider development of the airport cannot start, and any legal action would possibly drag on for months.
Mohegan and Hard Rock Remain
Following the construction of Athens International Airport, Hellenikon — or Ellinkon — was closed in 2001, and has been neglected ever since. During the rule of the left-wing Syriza party, the project was postponed for more than four years because of elements within the government who were opposed to foreign companies investing in Greece.
This caused Caesars Entertainment and Genting Malaysia to changed their minds, leaving Mohegan and Hard Rock to appear as the only remaining competitors. Both companies submitted official bids in October.
Hard Rock has said it will allocate $1.1 billion to the project, assuring to create 3,000 construction jobs and 1,600 permanent positions. The specifics of the finer financial points of Mohegan’s offer have not yet been disclosed; however, the company has united with Greek industrial firm GEK Terna on the bid.
The winning casino must accommodate at least 1,200 slot machines 120 table games, and have attached convention space.