Another shortlist of operators who may be selected to enter the final round of competition for the sole casino license to be issued in Cyprus later this year has possibly been leaked, this time to the Greek language ΠΟΛΙΤΗΣ or Politis News. As the announcement date draws nearer, reports are beginning to look more credible, with the latest claiming that the top contender is a “consortium comprising Hard Rock of Las Vegas and Melco [sic] of Macau,” followed by Bloomberry of the Philippines and Naga of Cambodia. The reference to “Melco” is likely Hong Kong listed Melco International Development Ltd, not Melco Crown of Macau.

No official statements to date have come from Hard Rock on whether they are even involved in the process, yet their name surfaces first in almost every “inside source” report.

Trusted Asian news sources indicate that Bloomberry Resorts Corp.‘s director of investor relations has indicating they tendered their expression of interest with Cyprus in December, and NagaCorp expressing interest is confirmed by reliable sources.

Although the three remaining contenders (according to most recent reports) were listed in descending order of favor, whichever suitors submit proposals in the next and final round will be starting from a clean slate. In the final round they will need to submit detailed plans including the location of the integrated resort casino.

The winner will be granted a 30 year license with no competition for at least the first 15 years, in the southern Republic of Cyprus where currently no casinos are allowed. Upon issuance of the license they may create a “satellite” casino immediately to begin generating revenues. At the center of the development program however is an integrated resort that could open as early as 2018. That facility would have a minimum of 500 luxury hotel rooms, 1,000 gaming machines, and 100 gaming tables with permissions for double those numbers without going back to the government for approvals.

According to Politis the government intends to announce the names of the three candidates later this week. From an initial field of 13 reported contenders only 8 finally applied through the Expression of Interest process which which began on September 18 and ended on December 18.

The government has made absolutely no statements about applicants to date.