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CR79-p10-cecis2:SJC-Casino Review 19/4/09 01:56 Page 1
Slice of the Mont Parnes action up for offer
The Greek government is to sell its 49 per cent stake in the
Mount Parnes Casino near Athens as part of this year’s state
asset sales programme which targets proceeds of E1bn euros.
Tourism minister Costas Markopoulos confirmed: “We (the
privatisations committee) have decided that the government will
sell 49 per cent of the Mount Parnes Casino.”
EUROPE CENTRAL, EAST & CIS The casino is currently operated by Regency Entertainment which
owns 49 percent together with Greek construction firm Ellaktor.
Decision on Southern Cypriot casino
project expected after Easter
Whilst the president
from Southern-based quarters are plenty of ways for a gambler
has recently been
is spent in the casinos in the to squander his life savings in
northern, occupied areas. He Cyprus. There is a football
adamant that there also slammed Paschalides for betting shop in every neigh-
will be no casino in
taking too long to analyse the bourhood, there is horse
southern Cyprus
CTO survey. racing twice a week, there are
EDEK’s George Varnavas dozens of illegal clubs for card-
during his term,
said it wasn’t right to build playing, fruit machines and
public opinion is
casinos in the south simply internet gambling. And then of
because Greek Cypriot money course there are plenty of
swaying in favour
was being spent on gaming casinos in the north that
of their introduction.
floors in the North. He said welcome Greek Cypriot
A decision is expected
clarification was needed on punters every night. Casinos in
what sort of casino model the the south will not increase the
in mid April. south would follow. money that gamblers were
The Vassiliou government squandering, but divert it to
hotpotato first considered casino intro- another bank account, while,
GREECE duction two decades ago, at the same time boosting gov-
claiming that it would boost ernment tax revenue at a time
The long political move tourism. Despite international when tax receipts were falling.
towards legalising casinos in operator interest no licence “One deputy said he was
the Greek controlled area of materialised. hopeful that the president
Cyprus looks like it will head This was followed by the could be persuaded to change
down another cul-de-sac Clerides government who his mind. His optimism might
when the Commerce Minis- actually prepared legislation not be totally unjustified after
ter is expected to give his saying it would offer two the latest Cyprobarometer
verdict on their introduction gaming licences, one for a survey, found that 58 per
in the south. And that would examining a survey by the comes to gambling in Cyprus of tourists who wish to visit coastal town and one for cent of Cypriots were in
mean the rejection of a latest Cyprus Tourism Organisation but said developing casinos in casinos,” Paschalides added. Nicosia, but again neither was favour of opening casinos. It
bid to bring a gaming floor to (CTO) on the feasibility of Cyprus had its pros and cons, He claimed that free access issued. The Papadopoulos was the first time that major-
Larnaca Airport. building casinos. both financially and socially. to all casinos in the south carried out surveys with one ity of the respondents of the
President Demetris He will present it to the “Casinos offering free would be ‘catastrophic’ for the minister claiming there was a annual survey were in
Christofias’ opposition to Finance, Interior and access to all without restric- locals in the south and advised patriotic imperative to stop favour,” he added.
casinos has been well docu- Justice Ministers to canvas tions would be catastrophic that if casinos were to be Greek Cypriot gamblers from The latest casino proposal
mented. He said recently that their opinion. and if a country like Cyprus opened in the South, they boosting the economy in the has come from airport opera-
as long as he was president The ministry has a commit- builds casinos, this will have would require safety clauses occupied areas. One local jour- tor, Hermes, who wants to
there would be no casino in ment to examine all eventuali- to be done with safety and restrictions, based on nalist said of President develop a casino at Larnaca
Southern Cyprus , his claim ties before approving or clauses and restrictions, people’s income.’ Christofias’ stance: “At least he Airport. The group’s chairman
being that they would bring rejecting the proposal but with based on people’s income,” Political opinion has long is being consistent, even Nicos Shacolas has written a
adverse social problems. the president’s stance clear, he explained. been split on the matter. DIKO though there is no rational letter to the House Commerce
Minister Antonis the whole process seems “Most tourists that arrive in deputy Angelos Votsis high- excuse for his ideological stand Committee claiming that
Paschalides has updated the somewhat doomed. Cyprus do not pay special lighted not only the emergence against gambling. By stopping opening a casino at the airport
president’s deputies at the Paschalides argues there is a emphasis to the existence of of illegal casinos in the south the opening of casinos he is would be highly advantageous
House Commerce Committee, legislative chasm when it casinos; it is a small proportion but also the fact that E100m not protecting anyone, as there for the island’s tourist trade.
Plaza increases ownership in 4,000 slot Hungarian project
hungryformore rooms in several hotels of this magnitude exists.
HUNGARY different categories as well Ran Shtarkman, CEO of
as approximately 1,000 Plaza Centers, said: “Plaza is
Plaza Centers, a leading leisure apartments, a con- uniquely placed to take
emerging markets property vention centre accommodat- advantage of opportunities in
developer, and its partner ing 3,500 delegates, a 1,500 the current market, given its
MKB Bank bought a further seat opera house, a 3,500 strong balance sheet and its
27 per cent stake in its seat multi-purpose theatre, a expertise in developing
Dream Island project in marina with an anchorage for assets across central and
Budapest, Hungary, from 300 vessels, a shopping and eastern Europe. We there-
CP Holdings, a company entertainment centre includ- fore saw this as a good
controlled by Sir Bernard ing a prestigious ‘Designer opportunity, as CP Holdings
Schreier. avenue’, a Roman cultural were looking to restructure
Plaza and its 50:50 joint museum, and parking facili- their investment portfolio, to
venture partner MKB Bank, ties for approximately 5,500 acquire a further stake in one
a leading Hungarian com- vehicles, as well as a 40,000 of the most important and
mercial bank which is a square meter casino. It is high profile developments in
subsidiary of the German located at the southern end Europe. In conjunction with
Bayerische Landesbank, of Obuda Island on the our joint venture partners,
together previously held 60 Danube River in central MKB Bank, this acquisition
per cent in the project and Budapest. shows our ongoing commit-
have acquired the addi- An exclusive casino ment to this exciting project.
tional 27 per cent stake for licence has been granted to With excavation well under-
around E21.4m. Plaza and its Consortium way on site, the detailed
Totalling over 350,000 partners for 20 years from time no further major casino casino will have over 200 and most prestigious desti- planning and design process
sqm of gross built area, the date of opening of the licences will be granted by gaming tables and over nation of its kind in Europe, continues, with phases of
Dream Island will include casino, with a ten year exten- the Hungarian government in 4,000 slot machines, and is where currently no other completion staggered
approximately 3,000 hotel sion option, during which the area of Budapest. The expected to be the largest resort and leisure facility of between 2012 and 2014.”
10 May 2009 • europecentraleast&cisnews
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