Cyprus casino deal signed, Melco seeks Hard Rock shares

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Construction on the 500 million euro integrated resort in Cyprus by a consortium between local gaming operator Melco and Hard Rock can now begin, following the signing of the contract by the consortium and the government yesterday.
Melco noted that it is ‘confident that its solid track record and unique experience in creating the most spectacular integrated resorts in Asia can meaningfully contribute to the economy and tourism of Cyprus’ in a press release.
The consortium’s bid for the 30-year gaming licence, plus the rights to a monopoly in the country for the first 15 years, was granted late last year, with Melco’s Chairman and CEO Lawrence Ho telling Macau Business that it was “a fantastic opportunity to have a monopoly somewhere within the EU”.
However, the business mogul noted that “it is an untested market,” especially given a lower passion for gambling in Europe as compared to Asia, and that “hopefully it will turn out to be quite exciting […] and it might be a longer-term opportunity”.
Melco has also entered into an agreement to assume a majority stake in the project, at 71 per cent, by purchasing Hard Rock’s shares.