In a scant few days the deadline will pass for companies to show their interest in a single casino license to be issued in the southern or Greek region of the divided country of Cyprus.

The government of the Republic of Cyprus has not released information publicly during the “expression-of-interest” (EOI ) period which began on September 18 and ends on December 18, but local news outlet Cyprus Weekly has kept the public and other media informed based on their sources.

According to the latest report, 12 global companies have made application to be considered, with those companies being located in Cambodia, France, Philippines, Russia, and the USA. Each of the companies tendered €10,000 to express interest and vie for an option to bid on the lucrative license.

Of the previous potential suitors identified, the outlet’s sources now indicate that Genting Malaysia did not opt in to the process and that Sun International of South Africa has reconsidered, although they have paid the fee and may still contend.

The top five companies who expressed interest according to reports include Absolute, a Russian company that formerly ran a casino in Russia; Bloomberry Resorts, owners of Solaire Casino in Manila’s Entertainment City; Bouygues of France, a communications and construction company who owns 22% of Hermes Airports Ltd, which operates Larnaca and Paphos airports, is said to have local support, and association with Accor Hotels; Hard Rock, an internationally known casino brand with interests on several continents, and NagaCorp, a HKSe listed company headed up by Malaysian billionaire, Chen Lip Keong who operates NagaWorld in Cambodia and is building an integrated resort in Russia’s far east.

The results of the EOI process will be announced within 45 days, beginning the final stage of of the selection process. The license will be awarded in 2016 and the primary resort is expected to be built within 2 years of licensing.

A temporary casino can be built immediately in order to generate revenues. After the main resort is completed, which will have a minimum of 100 gaming tables and 1,000 slots, three more slots-only satellite casinos may be opened; all under one license.

The license will be valid for 30 years with no competition allowed for the first half of the term, along with the possibility of more licenses being issued after 15 years.

The legal framework creating the opportunity was established and the processes implemented quickly in order to jump start the country’s economy. About 2.5 million tourists currently visit the island and the casino resort is expected to add at least another half million visits per year. Tens of thousands of long term jobs are expected to be created in the long term.

The integrated resort will be built on private land and the winning proposal will likely include Cypriot interests according other reports.

There are currently no legal casinos in the Greek supported southern Republic of Cyprus. Several casinos are in operation in the Turkish north, as well as a handful of gray-market or illegal casinos in the United Nations  controlled Blue Zone buffer area.

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