The Melco-Hard Rock Resorts Cyprus consortium recently announced that it had received approval from the government of the Republic of Cyprus to create a casino gaming venue. The Melco led consortium was initially one out of the eight applicants that was battling it out of the sole casino license and once the government shortlisted the bidders to just three, Melco was one of the favorites.

Cambodia’s Naga Corp and the Philippine’s Bloomberry Corp, the other two shortlisted operators, soon pulled out of the licensing process which meant that Melco had no competition in the end. The commerce ministry stated that it had received the Melco consortium proposal in detail and found that it had complied with all of the terms and conditions laid out by the ministry and hence they were happy to approve the license. The ministry has invited the consortium to file an application to receive a permit so that they can proceed with the construction phase.

The ministry released a statement saying “Following the evaluation of the application of the participant in the licensing process of the integrated resort casino in Cyprus, decided that the submitted proposal of the consortium ‘Melco – Hard Rock Resorts Cyprus’ meets the requirements. Therefore, the consortium has been invited by the coordinating committee to submit an application for licensing, under which the due diligence check will be carried out as provided by the documents of the invitation and the law. Subject to the successful completion of the aforementioned control, the permit will be issued.”

The consortium comprises of Melco International Development Ltd led by casino tycoon Lawrence Ho, Cyprus Phasouri (Zakaki) Ltd (CPZL), a Cyprus enterprise and the Hard Rock International owned by the Seminole Tribe. The consortium plans to build a casino resort in Limassol, which is located in the ethnic Greek portion of the Island.

The sole casino license awarded to the Melco led consortium is valid for a period of 30 years and gives the consortium a monopoly over the region for the first 15 years. The consortium will also be able to develop three slot machine parlors in different parts of the country and also set up a satellite casino.

Constantinos Petrides who serves as the undersecretary to the President of Cyprus stated that once the Melco consortium files the final bid for the construction phase, the selected construction provider will be allowed to go ahead with construction work. Work is expected to commence during the first quarter of 2017. Petrides stated that the new casino will bring in €500 million in foreign investment funds, create thousands of jobs in the country and also boost the tourism industry.