Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Casino Billionaire Lawrence Ho’s Melco Enters Europe With Opening Of $660 Million Cyprus Resort

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Melco Resorts & Entertainment, the Asian casino operator controlled by Hong Kong billionaire Lawrence Ho, has launched a new hospitality and gaming complex in the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, marking the company’s first venture in Europe.

Melco Resorts invested more than 600 million euro ($662 million) into building the integrated resort, which officially opened its doors on Monday, the company said in a statement. Called the “City of Dreams Mediterranean,” it is one of the largest development projects of its kind undertaken in Cyprus and Europe’s biggest integrated resort, according to the casino operator.

“City of Dreams Mediterranean gives Cyprus a new story to tell by blending local culture, hospitality and beauty with a new form of entertainment and experience. City of Dreams Mediterranean provides premium luxury, inspired and infused with local flavor,” Ho, the chairman and CEO of Melco Resorts, said in an opening event for the complex on Tuesday. “It allows Cyprus to unlock new markets in the region and beyond.”

Located in Limassol on the island’s sunny south coast, the resort features a 14-storey hotel with 500 guest rooms and suites. It also incorporates a casino, a massive pool complex, luxury retail stores, restaurants and conference venue, among others.

Melco Resorts said it hopes to turn Cyprus into a “year-round destination for premium tourism, world-class entertainment, as well as a hub for international business and conference tourism.” Authorities of the Mediterranean island had projected earlier that the resort could attract an additional 300,000 tourists annually and bring in up to 700 million euro ($772 million) to Cyprus’ treasury a year.

Nasdaq-listed Melco Resorts runs three casinos in Macau and an integrated resort in Manila, the Philippines. The company had previously tried to enter Japan with an integrated resort development in Yokohama, the country’s second-largest city. The pursuit, however, was put to an end by local officials who in 2021 withdrew Yokohama’s bid to host a casino development. A consortium led by Melco’s peer MGM Resorts International in April won government approval to build Japan’s first casino in Osaka.

Melco Resorts has been recovering from the pandemic after Macau relaxed its Covid restrictions and reopened its borders to tourists earlier this year. In the first quarter, the casino operator saw its revenue rise by 51% from the same period in 2022 to $716 million and halved its net loss to $81 million.

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