Cyprus' government has signed a deal with a consortium made up of Hong Kong-based Melco International, Hard Rock and local firm CNS Group to construct what officials say will be the largest casino in Europe. The new casino resort will be developed in the coastal town of Limassol and will be complete by 2020, U.S. New & World Report reported.
With 136 gambling tables and 1,200 gambling machines, the proposed casino will be joined to a 500-room luxury hotel. The hotel will also have a spa and a 1,500-seat concert hall.
Cyprus' Energy, Commerce, Industry and Tourism Minister Yiorgos Lakkotypis told The Associated Press that the resort will cost over $558 million to develop. It will also create approximately 4,000 new jobs during the construction phase while another 4,000 jobs will be created once the resort is operating. He predicted that the project will attract about 300,000 additional travelers to Cyprus annually. "The project as has been proposed foresees the creation of Europe's only integrated casino resort," Lakotryppis said at the signing ceremony.
Andy Choy, president of Melco's resorts and entertainment division, told The Associated Press that until the large casino is up and running, an interim casino in Limassol and four smaller casinos in Cyprus' other cities will open in early 2018. He added that the consortium's priority is to keep the project's social and environmental impact under control.
Cyprus tourism officials expect to gain another record number of tourists this year following a record-setting 2016. Last year, close to 3.2 million vacationers visited the island. Tourism constitutes over 20 percent of Cyprus' economy.