ard Rock International (HRI) expects a court challenge will bring the company the license for a casino when the abandoned Hellinikon International Airport site in Athens, Greece is developed, although it’s already been awarded to the only other bidder, Connecticut’s Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment, and HRI’s bid was disqualified earlier in the process.
“Hard Rock International will ultimately win the competition for Hellenikon. Hard Rock is the only company to have developed a project like this before and they will do it again,” a spokesman for the company, Michael Karloutsos, told The National Herald. He said once Greece begins to gradually ease out a lockdown aimed at preventing the spread of the COVID-19 virus, the country will need the economic bump the 8-billion-euro ($8.66 billion) seaside project will bring, delayed for years.
“Hard Rock International is the only contender with a recognizable global brand and a world-wide network with staying power that can attract much needed additional tourists to Greece,” said Karloutsos.
Greece’s highest administrative court on Monday was set to hear HRI’s appeal, which had already been rejected by the Preliminary Appeals Authority and the Hellenic Gaming Commission. “COVID-19 might have something to say about the timing of this going forward but I assure you that Hard Rock International is prepared to present our case and ultimately win either way, whether it is here in the Greek Supreme Administrative Court or the European Court,” he said, a prospect that could tie up the development further.
The Hellenic Gaming Commission’s board threw out HRI’s bid and awarded the license to the Mohegan, but that has been put on hold by the appeal and now COVID-19 focusing attention on saving lives and the economy during a lockdown closing non-essential businesses.