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Europe’s largest casino opening pushed back to 2022

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Europe’s largest Integrated Casino Resort (ICR) will open nearly a year behind schedule, in autumn 2022, as construction work on Limassol’s City of Dreams Mediterranean has been disrupted by the pandemic.

The €550 mln casino complex was scheduled for launch by the end of 2021, before the lockdowns.

Postponement of the casino’s opening was made by the Cyprus Gaming and Casino Supervision Commission at the House’s Finance Committee on Tuesday.

Talking on behalf of the Gaming Commission, the vice president of the authority Phidias Pilides, said that the casino owners have laid out a detailed timeframe.

Answering questions from MPs, he said that due to the lockdown of 2020, casino revenues have decreased, noting that the picture will be reversed in the coming years, as a significant increase operating revenue is expected in the third quarter of 2022 with the opening of the resort.

Cyprus Casinos operates a temporary facility in Limassol plus satellite casinos in Nicosia, Larnaca, Paphos and Ayia Napa.

The state is also to see reduced revenues from the casino, as satellite facilities were closed under restrictions introduced to stem the spread of COVID-19.

The state budget in 2021 was expected to be boosted by tax revenues of €13 mln, the same as last year.

Pilides said that by the end of the year a total of 1,400 casino employees are expected to be hired.

Melco owns 75% of ICR Cyprus which is developing and operating the City of Dreams Mediterranean Casino.

ICR Cyprus, through a subsidiary, holds a 30-year casino gaming license for the Republic.

The license started from June 2017 and the first 15 years are exclusive to ICR Cyprus.

The temporary casino in Limassol opened in June 2018 – the first such licensed casino venue in the Republic of Cyprus.

It will continue to operate until the opening of City of Dreams Mediterranean.

The project is expected to attract an additional 300,000 tourists annually in a bid to combat seasonality as well as providing close to 4,000 local jobs during the construction phase and approximately 2,500 once it is fully operational.

Upon completion, City of Dreams will have a 7,500-square-metre gaming area comprising over 100 tables and 1,000 state-of-the-art slot machines, a five-star hotel with approximately 500 rooms, world-class international restaurants and cafeterias, an outdoor amphitheatre, and MICE [meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions].