articles | 04 July 2017

Casino resort will pump €800m into economy by 2022

During its second year of operation, in 2022, the casino resort to be built in Zakaki, Limassol will contribute some €800 million, or 4% of GDP, to the economy, the Melco Hard Rock consortium said recently.

Speaking on behalf of the consortium that won the casino license, Iacovos Galanos also told MPs that 4,000 jobs would be created during the construction phase, and around 2,400 people hired to operate the resort.

The consortium could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.

But Angelos Votsis, chair of the House commerce committee, told the Cyprus Mail that the consortium meant €800 million per year.

“They’re taking into account everything: their anticipated revenues, direct taxes to the government, the income tax to be paid by the 4,000 employees, as well as employees’ social insurance contributions,” Votsis said.

Earlier this year, the finance minister hadsaid the casinos would bring in €100m a year in taxes.

The contract signed with the government last week allows for one integrated casino resort, set to be the largest one of its kind in Europe, spanning 9,000 square metres, with 136 gaming tables, 1,200 gaming machines, a luxury hotel with 500 rooms and the capacity for expansion, a conference hall of 6,000 square metres that can accommodate audiences of 1,500, and a wellness centre covering 4,000 square metres.

The overall investment has been estimated at €500 million.

Additionally, the investors will be operating four satellite casinos across Cyprus and one temporary casino until the major resort opens.

Theodoros Koutsoukis general manager of the consortium, said they have already selected the sites for the satellite casinos and the temporary casino, and are awaiting the approval of the gaming authority, the agency tasked with monitoring the project.

For these facilities, the consortium plans to file all of the paperwork for the required permits in August, Koutsoukis said.

“We estimate that the satellites and the temporary casino will be operational in the first quarter of 2018. The target is February.”

And by November of this year, he added, the consortium will have filed the paperwork for the permits for the casino resort.

If all goes smoothly, the consortium intends to start laying the foundations for the integrated resort during the first quarter of 2018.

The consortium would prioritise hiring Cypriots, he added.

Quizzed by MPs as to their hiring plans, Koutsoukis said he has already spoken with labour minister Zeta Emilianidou, who requested a list of the job qualifications for future casino employees.

He said the minister intends to have the Human Resource Development Authority roll out a dedicated programme to train unemployed Cypriots to fill the positions.

For his part, head of the gaming authority Christos Mavrellis said the agency is considering contracting foreign consultants to provide guidance on the inspection of the casino sites.

Stelios Cheimonas, permanent secretary at the commerce ministry, said the cabinet has already approved the hiring of a project supervisor, even though overall oversight rests with the gaming authority.

The ministry has requested, and obtained, funds for the gaming authority so that it can operate this year. The gaming authority, set up in February 2017, has no dedicated budget at this time.

House commerce committee chair Angelos Votsis said he hoped the casinos would stop the ‘bleed-out’ of tourists to the north of the island.

Disy MP Andreas Kyprianou advised the public to ignore accelerated training courses for casino workers that are being advertised online and guaranteeing employment.

Interested people should wait for an announcement from the Human Resource Development Authority, he added.

The consortium comprises Melco International Development Ltd, Seminole HR Holdings LLC (Melco Hard Rock) and CNS Group (Cyprus Phassouri Zakaki Ltd).

Two of the directors on the board of Cyprus Phassouri Zakaki Ltd are members of the Shiacolas family.

The limited company was incorporated on September 22, 2010.

Source: Cyprus Mail

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