The Republic of Cyprus has authorized the licensing and construction of a massive integrated resort casino and Sun International is widely believed to be one of  six possible contenders in the competition to build on the Mediterranean island.

Of the six, five have been tentatively identified including Malaysia’s Genting, France’s Bouygues, Cambodia’s NagaCorp, Florida’s Hard Rock International, and SUN. Some previous reports had indicated that Kerzner International rather than Sun Int’l (also founded by Sol Kerzner) was one of the front-runners. Three of these companies will go on to the second round after the “expression-of-interest” period ends on December 18. First round winners will be informed of their opportunity to advance within 45 days of next month’s deadline.

Tourism Minister Georgios Lakkotrypis told local media outlets yesterday that, “We aim to grant the licence by mid-2016 and it will come into effect from day one so the winning company will have every incentive to move quickly,” Mr Lakkotrypis said.

Only one development will be chosen and early reports indicate that foreign investors are coupling with local interests in their bids. The license award would be valid for 30 years with no competition allowed for the first half of the term. “If market conditions show after 15 years there could be room for more such resorts, then, yes, we could grant more licences,” said the Minister.

As the license would be valid upon issuance, the winning suitor will be able to open several satellite facilities immediately to bolster revenues while their integrated resort is built and opened in stages. Up to four satellite casinos were authorized by parliament in July as the final details were hammered out in the bill.

The mega-casino will be built on a privately owned land and must offer at least 1,000 gaming machines and 100 gaming tables. The casino will be included in holistic resort, much like Sun City in South Africa or Resorts World Genting in Malaysia and would be the first of its kind in Europe.

Each of the five firms would have needed to tender €10,000 for a chance to bid on the casino license. The 60 day first phase began on September 18 with  yesterday’s comments marking the half-way mark.

The resort will be built and opened within 2 years of the mid-2016 license award.

Any of the aforementioned contenders would be well-placed to develop a successful venture in Cyprus. The least-known of them in the gaming industry is Bouygues. However they too are well positioned if partnered with an experienced entertainment company. Bouygues specializes in construction and real estate development along with media and telecommunications and has about 130,000 employees in 80 countries. They generated €32.7 billion in revenue in 2011.

Sun International operations include resorts, luxury hotels, and casinos, across 27 destinations in 8 countries including a recent merger South America.

Hard Rock International was purchased from the Rank Group by the Seminole Tribe of Florida for $965 million in 2007 and has venues across the globe.

NagaCorp is a highly successful Malaysian based entertainment company with properties in Cambodia and a massive integrated resort under development in the Far East near Vladivostok.

Genting is most well known for their clubs across the UK and Resorts World brand with locations in New York, Birmingham, England, The Bahamas, Singapore and Malaysia with an upcoming Las Vegas Strip casino.

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