Cyprus: casino resort to add $838 million to economy yearly

NICOSIA, Cyprus — One of Europe's biggest casino resorts due to be built in Cyprus should pump $838 million into the island nation's economy annually from 2022, the second year of its operation, the country's president said Tuesday.

President Nicos Anastasiades said the figure represents around 4 percent of Cyprus' economy.

"Our government's aim is the creation of a complete casino resort that will be paramount in Europe and one of the best in the world," Anastasiades said at a presentation of the $658 million resort.

The City of Dreams Mediterranean casino resort is forecast to create 4,000 construction jobs, employ another 2,500 permanent staff and bring in an additional 300,000 tourists annually from Europe and elsewhere. It will be built by a consortium made up of Melco Resorts and Entertainment and the Cyprus Phassouri Ltd.

Melco says the resort will be Europe's largest and will include 136 tables and 1,200 gaming machines, a five-star, 500-room hotel, 11 restaurants and cafes and a convention expo center.

Melco Chairman Lawrence Ho said the Cypriot resort will mirror the company's other resorts in Macau and the Philippines in architecture, design, and entertainment.

Anastasiades said the casino will enrich Cyprus' year-round tourism offering and help attract foreign investment to the country, which needed a multibillion-euro rescue from other eurozone countries to avoid bankruptcy back in 2013.

A temporary casino will open up by June in the southern coastal town of Limassol, where the resort will be built. Four other satellite casinos — one for each of Cyprus' districts — will also start operating by the middle of this year.

The age limit for entry into the casino has been set at 21.

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