he Hellinikon Casino Resort project was approved by the Greek government on Friday. The Inspire Athens consortium, comprising Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment and GEK Terna, was the winning bidder.
The billion-dollar integrated resort was officially approved by the Hellenic Gaming Commission, and now the company is required to pay $174.8 million to get the project started. The deadline for completion of the Hellinikon project construction has not yet been announced.
Inspire Athens is 100% owned by listed Greek construction group GEK Terna, while the necessary casino operating experience required by the terms of the competition is provided by Mohegan. GEK is required to maintain at least 35% of the share capital of Inspire Athens in-house for at least the next eight years.
In addition to winning the bid for the gaming licence, the Inspire Athens consortium also holds a €1 billion contract for the construction of an integrated complex casino around two main towers of 200 and 100 meters height, respectively.
The complex will include a luxury, 120,000-square meter hotel of 3,450 beds, a conference and exhibition center of 23,700 sq.m. and a sports and cultural center with a capacity for 10,500 people that could host anything from concerts to soccer games.
The Hellinikon Integrated Resort Project
The Greek IR project started with MGE and Hard Rock as the main contenders against Hard Rock. MGE won in 2019, but Hard Rock appealed the decision. In May 2021, the appeal was rejected and the company was definitely removed from the equation.
In 2019, pursuant to attracting investors willing to grow the country’s casino market, the Greek government updated its gambling laws, and lowered the licensing fees.
In March 2021, MGE Chair James Gessner, Jr. stated that the company was fully ready to support the Hellinikon project. Shortly after that, however, MGE softened its position. Even though it will support GEK, the company may not be there for the long run, thus leaving the other contender, Hard Rock, with chances of getting ahold of managerial responsibilities of running the casino project. It is expected that before the end of this year GEK Terna will cede a majority stake to the Hard Rock consortium, which would then replace Mohegan as the entity providing the management experience.
The new IR is expected to bring employment to more than 7,000 people, boosting the Greek economy.