ATHENS, July 4 (Reuters) - Greek contractor GEK Terna said on Thursday it has teamed up with U.S. casino operator Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment to bid to build a casino inside a planned 8-billion-euro tourist resort on the Athens coastline.
Backed by Chinese and Gulf funds, Lamda Development plans to turn the disused Hellenikon airport in Greece’s capital into a complex of luxury residences, hotels, a yachting marina and a casino.
After pushing back the process three times, Greece’s gaming regulator has set a July 31 deadline for the submission of bids for the casino. The bidding process requires a minimum offer of 30 million euros to operate the casino for 30 years.
The Terna-Mohegan partnership is the first group to announce its intention to bid, in a boost for the project beset by delays and a long-running row with critics who fear it will damage the environment and the country’s cultural heritage.
In the latest twist, Lamda said Greek authorities were insisting the culture ministry approve all projects at Hellenikon, which the firm said put the development at risk.
The leftist government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras - which Lamda says has been withholding required permits - in turn accused the developer fo trying to change terms of the project by including more buildings to maximise profit. (Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou, editing by Deepa Babington)