The provisional opening date for the €550 million ($668 million) integrated casino resort being built in Cyprus by Melco International Development Limited has reportedly been pushed back by over nine months to the autumn of next year.
According to a Wednesday report from the Financial Mirror newspaper, construction on the giant City of Dreams Mediterranean development began in June of 2018 in hopes that the five-star facility would be able to start welcoming guests to its 500 rooms by the end of this year. The source detailed that the finished Las Vegas-style development is destined to be the largest of its type in Europe and come complete with a spa, a gym and meeting and conferencing facilities alongside a 1,500-seat theater and an 80,720 sq ft casino offering a selection of over 80 gaming tables and approximately 1,000 slots.
However, the newspaper reported that construction of the 16-story property for the Limassol suburb of Tserkezoi was paused for over seven weeks last spring as Cyprus struggled to come to terms with the coronavirus pandemic. Work only resumed in May with progress purportedly being subsequently hampered by a strict set of social distancing guidelines issued by the island nation’s Ministry of Labour, Welfare and Social Insurance, Department of Labour Inspection and the Medical and Public Health Services division of its Ministry of Health.
The Financial Mirror reported that news of the delay was relayed by the Vice-President for the Cyprus Gaming and Casino Supervision Commission, Phidias Pilides, during a Tuesday meeting of the House of Representatives’ Finance Committee. The official purportedly explained that Hong Kong-listed Melco International Development Limited has now laid out a detailed post-pandemic construction timeline that is expected to see its City of Dreams Mediterranean development open before the winter of 2022.
Melco International Development Limited is the parent of Asian casino giant Melco Resorts and Entertainment Limited and was granted a 30-year license in 2017 that gave it the right to bring casino gambling to Cyprus. The firm subsequently opened its temporary C2 Limassol venue before premiering smaller ‘satellite’ facilities in the nearby communities of Nicosia, Larnaca, Ayia Napa and Paphos, which Pilides pronounced have recently seen revenues decrease owing to temporary coronavirus-related shutterings and an associated drop in tourism nationwide.
The thought of turning Cyprus into a massive casino playground is going to take a little more time than expected thanks to COVID-19. The global pandemic has forced casino operators to press the brakes on some of their more ambitious projects, a response to prolonged shutdowns that reduced cash flows and construction possibilities. According to a new update, Cyprus is feeling the sting, as well, and the City of Dreams Mediterranean (CODM) integrated resort project run by Melco Resorts International won’t be ready until sometime late next year, according to the Financial Mirror. That’s almost a year after its initial projected launch.The casino resort in Limassol carries a price tag of around $667 million, so getting it up and running as soon as possible is paramount to beginning to recuperate that investment. However, according to the Cyprus Gaming and Casino Supervision Commission (CGCSC), in talks with the House Finance Committee this week, Melco and its partners are being forced to respond to the global pandemic’s grasp on the gaming industry. Expected to be the “largest casino” in Europe, even CODM is too big to avoid COVID-19’s wrath.CGCSV VP Phidias Pilides announced the delay when committee members began asking for an update on the project. He acknowledged the issue and added that casino revenue in Cyprus has taken a hit from the pandemic, but clarified that the commission expects things to begin to turn around significantly after the CODM opens in the third quarter of next year. Melco, which operates Cyprus Casinos through a partnership, is running satellite casinos in Nicosia, Larnaca, Paphos and Ayia Napa, as well as a temporary casino in Limassol, all of which have seen drops in revenue because of the coronavirus.Cyprus had counted on about $15.7 million (€13 million) in casino tax revenue for its 2021 budget, but that won’t be possible because of the closures from last year. It isn’t yet clear how far off the final amount will be, but all local casinos, at one point or another, had to be completely shut down in order to stop COVID-19 from spreading.The new delay for the CODM project won’t help, but things will greatly turn around once the resort is operational, according to Pilides. He expects the property to employ 2,500 individuals when it opens, in addition to the 4,000 construction workers helping to get the project launched, and will attract up to 300,000 tourists each year.
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