Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment (MGE), an American master developer and operator of premier global integrated entertainment resorts, announced on Friday that it has withdrawn from plans for the creation of a casino in Greece, slated for the former airport location at Hellinikon in southern Athens.
“MGE has conducted a comprehensive review of its operations and future commitments against the new backdrop created by the Covid-19 global pandemic and concluded that we would not continue to pursue the concession rights for the Athens project,” it said.
“We are also focused on the large undertaking at Inspire Korea, which will consume the next few years. While we know this is a disappointment to many, it is the right decision for our company and its stakeholders,” it added.
The Hellenic Gaming Commission selected Mohegan and its GEK Terna Holding Real Estate Construction partner to construct the resort in southern Athens. Mohegan said in September all of its equity ownership in the Athens project had been transferred to GEK Terna, which was previously the minority owner in the venture.
However, it remains as a consultant to Inspire Athens, offering its expertise, as its contractual obligations dictate.
GEK Terna, a conglomerate based in Greece, is reportedly in talks with the US company Hard Rock to create a consortium responsible for the project.
As recently as last May, MGE CEO Ray Pineault vowed to complete the casino in 36 months.
Pineault said that the project at the former Athens international airport in Helllinikon is the first integrated tourist complex with a casino (IRC) in Greece. It is not just a casino, but a large tourist investment, a milestone in the history of MGE, he added.
“Hellinikon is a project that will change the region. It will attract many visitors on an annual basis and will bring a 10 percent increase in tourism in Attica.”
Hellinikon project to cost billions
The new property is expected to cost several billion dollars by the time it is finished. The Hellinikon resort project was officially green-lighted by the Hellenic Gaming Commission in October, with Inspire Athens leading the charge.
With the concession in place, the company is now required to pay $174.8 million to get the Hellinikon project started. The new project is expected to bring employment to more than 7,000 people, providing a huge boost to the Greek economy.
A large hotel, a massive conference center, several restaurants, bars, and a sports and cultural facility will round out the resort’s amenities once completed.