Cyprus Government has granted a three-month extension to bids for its casino license following a request from Cambodia’s NagaCorp and Phillipine’s Bloomberry Resorts; these are two out of three companies in total that entered the second round. The consortium of Melco International Development and Hard Rock International expressed its disagreement with the decision in writing and demanded that the original timeframes should be respected.

According to the initial terms mentioned by Melco International Development-Hard Rock International-Cyprus Phasouri (Zakaki) Limited, bidders had to submit final proposals by 5th of July. However, after two companies asked for more time to reach an agreement regarding land acquisition and overcome state bureaucracy, the government decided to grant a three-month extension.

Experts familiar with the whole process have commented and questioned the decision considering the fact that there is a lot of available land on the Cyprus market. Plus, they’ve also highlighted the length of the extension, wondering why bidders weren’t given just a single month to deal with their issues. According to a person familiar to the matter that gave a statement for The Cyprus Weekly, the latest event shows “an issue of credibility over the procedure.”

Another red flag was the removal of the “sightseeing” clause, which used to be included in the request for proposal document. The clause demanded the committee responsible for the selection to visit properties run by bidders as part of the decision-making process; something that would have given the Melco-Hard Rock partnership a clear advantage taken into account the number of establishments operated and owned by them.

Cyprus government commented on both questionable actions. Regarding the extension, a representative revealed that if they refused to give it, there would’ve been left only one bidder for the licence. In terms of the “sightseeing” clause, the source claimed that the committee was already familiar with “bidders’ experience” and visiting their properties “would have not added anything new.”