Hard Rock International (HRI) is no longer in contention for the Hellinikon integrated resort casino license, confirmed Greece. So, rival Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment(MGE) are now in the driver’s seat.
Greece’s Hellenic Gaming Commission (HGC) officially informed the two candidates late Monday, about its decision to award the license to run gaming at the €8b Hellinikon project on the site of Athens’ previous international airport to a consortium which included MGE. The only ones bidding for the project’s 30-year casino license were the two companies.
As reported by calvinayre.com, there were rumors last week that HRI’s bid would be ineligible, supposedly over concerns that HRI didn’t have experience in building a project this big and worries over HRI’s financial capacity to complete the project. However, HRI has strongly rebuffed these allegations and made its own allegations about the HGC favoring MGE from the start of the bidding process.
HRI had filed an objection about a possible conflict of interest due to a legal advisor of the Hellenic Chamber of Commerce having connections to one of MGE’s consortium partners. However, the HGC’s Monday notice said it had “determined that there was no conflict of interest.”
The notification of both contenders officially begins a 10 working day window in which HRI can make a legal objection to the HGC’s decision with the arbitration authority, which will subsequently, have a month to study the matter. HRI has not commented on the HGC’s announcement till now but the company promised earlier to file such an objection. HRI may also ask Greece’s Council of State for an injunction to freeze the tender process while HRI pursues legal remedies.
MGE and GEK Terna, its local development partner have named their proposed gaming venue Inspire Athens, which supposedly will cost €1b. Main developer Lamda Development, which is contractually prohibited from starting work until the casino license is issued, hopes to get the green signal early this year.