Media reports out of Greece Sunday indicate Genting Malaysia, Hard Rock International, and Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment are the final bidders to put a gaming property at the site of the airport that was abandoned 18 years ago.
Those reports surfaced less than two weeks after speculation swirled that Genting, along with Caesars Entertainment, had grown tired of bureaucratic delays and was prepared to bail on the Greece casino endeavor.
Mohegan Gaming, the casino arm of Connecticut’s Mohegan tribe, is said to be partnering with Greece’s GEK Terna to be part of the Hellenikon Airport effort. Citing unidentified sources, The News Herald reports that Mohegan Gaming CEO Mario Kontomerkos has reportedly visited Greece several times, and that the company is ready to make a bid.
“Unjustifiably low valuations provided good entry opportunity in 2019, but it took investors some time to grasp that economic reality is improving,” said East Capital partner Tim Umberger in a note published earlier this year. “The country is expected to grow at around 2.5% in 2019, significantly higher than the Eurozone, as the battered economy is getting out of a 10-year slump.”
Earlier this year, Genting, Hard Rock, and Mohegan Gaming submitted comments on the casino license and property leasing terms. All three companies are believed to have asked Greek officials for some relaxation on the land lease terms.
One reason for Caesars’ waning interest in adding a casino in Greece is that its international expansion plans are on hold amid Eldorado Resorts $17.3 billion takeover of the company. Eldorado has implied expansion outside the US is likely on hold for the foreseeable future.
In addition to the integrated resort at the old Hellenikon Airport venue, gaming companies and developers are pitching high-end hotels, residences, and a marina. The gaming license to be awarded there is expected to be a 30-year permit.