With one casino license available in the southern half of Cyprus, there has been much interest from companies unknown. Eight companies have shown interest in a formal fashion for the licensing, proposing a bid to be the lone license holder in the country.

Friday was the final day of the three month time frame in which companies could express an interest in obtaining the license. A statement was sent out by the Cypriot Commerce, Industry, Energy and Tourism Ministry, to confirm that they have received a total of eight bids, with five bids to be set aside as the competition moves forward with three finalists.

The identities of the bidders have not been revealed but the media in Cyprus have been openly sharing names they feel are the companies showing interest in the casino license. Just last week, five bidders were identified by In-Cyprus.com. These bidders include Hard Rock International of the United States, NagaCorp of Cambodia, Bloomberry Resorts Corp in the Philippines, a French venture that includes Bouygues Batiment International Accord Hotels and casino operator Barriere of France. A conglomerate of Russia is also interested in the license, including Absolut, a firm involved in property and banking.

It was believed that the Genting company of Malaysia and Sun International of South Africa were interested but withdrew their bid late. Caesars Entertainment showed interest in the past but with bankruptcy issues, they have opted to not focus on a new project as far as we can ascertain at this point.

Now, the eight companies vying for the license will be cut down to three within a 45 day time frame. This will be after the government reviews the prospective projects and will continue to narrow down the candidates until 2016 when the license will be awarded. The winner will have two years to create the gaming facility.

Legislation was just passed for casino gaming this summer after much debate. Legislation allows for a gaming facility to be created with 100 gaming table minimum and 1,000 electronic gaming machines. The casino can be built anywhere the operator is able to create a deal, as long as the land is private. The winning bidder will be able to construct a small casino immediately. Along with the revenue generating first facility, three satellite, slots-only casinos are allowed to be built in addition to the massive integrated resort, the first of its kind ever to be built in Europe.