After winning the right to build and operate the first integrated casino resort in Cyprus, the consortium led by Melco International Development Limited could now reportedly open a temporary training venue in Limassol by the end of 2017.

According to a report from the Cyprus Mail newspaper, the revelation came from Giorgos Lakkotrypis, Minister For Energy, Commerce, Industry And Tourism, on Monday as part of a report into his department’s due diligence duties on the proposed plans for the full integrated casino resort.

Hong Kong-listed Melco International Development Limited, which is controlled by gaming entrepreneur Lawrence Ho Yau Lung and operates the Studio City Casino Macau via its Melco Crown Entertainment Limited joint venture with Australian firm Crown Resorts Limited, is partnering with Hard Rock International and local firm Cyprus Phasouri (Zakaki) Limited to build and operate the Cypriot integrated casino resort. The full $538 million permanent facility is due to be constructed on Lady’s Mile Beach close to the harbor for Limassol and is expected to feature a luxury 500-room hotel offering up to 1,000 slots as well as some 100 table games with an expected opening date near the end of 2019.

As part of the deal, the consortium is to receive a 30-year license that will contain a 15-year exclusivity clause while the Cyprus Mail reported that the syndicate additionally plans to open a smaller satellite casino for the island nation’s capital and largest city, Nicosia, by the summer alongside subsequent slot parlors for the districts of Larnaca, Paphos and Famagusta.

“We have set the bar very high and we seem to be getting there,” Lakkotrypis told the Cyprus Mail. “I believe that you will be impressed by the plans, which we will present to you at some point shortly.”

Lakkotrypis declared that the casinos could attract an additional 300,000 tourists a year while some 4,000 locals are to be employed during the construction phase. He stated that the full Limassol integrated casino resort would employ a similar amount of people with its temporary predecessor likely to be located inside the Monte Caputo nightspot on Amathus Avenue.

“At a subsequent stage, we shall be ready to appoint the gaming authority,” Lakkotrypis told the Cyprus Mail.

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