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Casino site news and views: Integrated resort & Design innovation

Michael Johnson

Plans move forward for an integrated resort in Hellinikon

Plans for the Hellinikon Project

The former Hellinikon International Airport, that has been closed for 18 years, might just be getting a new lease on life soon. This is now the proposed site for an integrated resort with a casino in Hellinikon and plans are also being put forward to add new hotels, residences and even a marina to the site. The idea of turning the unused airport into a resort has been in the pipeline for years but due to the worldwide economic recession, the plans had been placed on hold.

With a growing interest in gambling throughout the region, the Development and Investment Minister of Greece, Adonis Georgiadis, has assured everyone involved in the project that the plan is once again back on track and that the deadline for the selection of a tender winner is the end of September.

The repeated delays getting the project off the ground and accepting bids from casino operators has meant that a couple of potential bidders have lost interest in the project but there are still three bidders left in the game. The casino operators who are vying for the casino tender in Hellinikon are Hard Rock International, Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment (MGE) and Genting Malaysia. So far Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment has been the most visible and their company representatives, including CEO Mario Kontomerkos, have made a number of visits to Greece recently. If their bid is successful MGE plans to work alongside local firm GEK Terna on the project.

Design innovation in Vegas comes with a hefty price tag

One of the biggest building projects in Las Vegas in recent years got underway last September. The Venetian-tied MSG (Madison Square Garden) Sphere arena with a capacity of 18,000 has been designed to attract more non-gambling tourists to Vegas. When completed, this 400,000-square-foot facility will be 360 feet high and feature a unique 160,000-square-foot wrap-around video screen wall. But all this innovation and uniqueness comes at a hefty price and the costs are rising. The initial estimate to build The Sphere was $1.2 billion but now AECON, the Los Angeles based engineering company that is overseeing the project has raised that figure closer to $1.7 billion.MSG Executive VP and Chief Financial Officer Victoria Mink, however, believes that the revised budget is too high and that there are areas where they can save costs.

According to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, only 7% of people go to Las Vegas to gamble but 45% are there on vacation or pleasure trips. With over 40 million tourists visiting Las Vegas every year, the MSGSphere hopes to capture a large portion of this lucrative market by hosting music concerts, conferences, expos, shows, eSports competitions, and many other events.