The opening of City of Dreams Mediterranean has been pushed back until 2022 because of construction impacts caused by COVID-19.
Set to become Europe’s largest casino resort, the Financial Mirror reports that City of Dreams Mediterranean parent company Melco Resorts has confirmed the property’s delay.
Cyprus Gaming and Casino Supervision Commission Vice President Phidias Pilides informed the Cyprus parliament last week that the casino is now targeting the third quarter of 2022 for its commencement. The €550 (USD$667 million) development was originally set to open by the end of this year.
Pilides revealed that Melco Resorts encountered supply chain delays caused by the coronavirus. As a result, construction progressed at a much slower rate.
Cyprus Gaming Recovery
Despite the pushback in City of Dreams welcoming guests in Cyprus, Melco told officials in the Mediterranean island nation that 2021 will still be a good year for the tourism and gaming industries.
As more than half of a billion-dollar integrated casino resort is being built, Melco has opened a temporary satellite casino in Limassol, plus satellite gaming facilities in Nicosia, Larnaca, Paphos, and Ayia Napa. Melco’s gaming license for City of Dreams is good for 30 years, and it includes a monopoly on gambling for the first 15 years. The license began in 2017.
Though COVID-19 devastated gross gaming revenues (GGR) at the casinos in 2020, as they were forced to shutter operations on government orders, Melco expects gaming to rebound quickly.
In the middle of June, operations at Cyprus casinos partially reopened,” Melco CEO Lawrence Ho said during the firm’s most recent investor call. “We saw a swift return of domestic gaming demand, which drove the return of our third quarter gaming revenues to approximately 75 percent of last year’s level.”
“We continue to expect a faster rebound and faster growth in the premium gaming segments,” Ho added.
Cyprus Hiring Spree Coming
Melco Resorts says by the end of 2021, it will employ approximately 1,400 casino employees at its four satellites and temporary casino in Limassol. And next year, the company will hire thousands more, as City of Dreams Mediterranean nears completion.
The integrated casino resort will feature a casino floor measuring roughly 81,000 square feet, equipped with 1,000 slot machines and 100 table games. The property will offer a five-star hotel with 500 rooms, 11 restaurants and eateries, retail shopping, a spa and wellness center, an outdoor amphitheater, and convention and event spaces.
Hong Kong-based Melco owns and operates City of Dreams and Studio City in Macau, plus City of Dreams Manila in the Philippines.
What’s attractive about Cyprus is the tax rate the government offered Melco on its gross gaming revenue (GGR). City of Dreams Mediterranean, as well as the current five smaller gaming properties, pay a 10 percent tax on casino win.
By comparison, Macau casinos share 35 percent of their slot machine and table game win with the local government. In the Philippines, land-based casinos are taxed at 25 percent on mass market gaming and 15 percent on VIP play.