Home > Features > Europe’s first integrated casino resort may be coming to … Cyprus

Europe’s first integrated casino resort may be coming to … Cyprus


28 Aug 2018

According to the World Casino Directory, there are currently 31 casinos in Cyprus.

Virtually half of these are situated on the northern coast in Kyrenia, with others positioned in Bafra, Famagusta, Limassol, Nicosia and Catalkoy.

This number is currently inexact, as it includes the City of Dreams Mediterranean. The reason for the inaccuracy is that this casino will not be fully operational until 2021.

However, once complete in Cyprus’ second-largest city of Limassol, it should certainly prove to be worth the wait.

Cyprus’ first integrated resort

The City of Dreams Mediterranean will not simply be a casino, but a much more substantial integrated resort.

Such resorts are fairly commonplace in locations such as Las Vegas and are beginning to pop up in some Asian countries. One such country is South Korea.

But until this development, not only were there no integrated resorts in Cyprus, none could be found in any European location.

Hong Kong-based Melco International Resorts and Entertainment are making their first venture outside of Asia, with the cost of the investment expected to top £500 million.

What’s inside the City of Dreams Mediterranean?

In terms of its size, the casino floor will span 80,000 square feet, which is plenty large enough to accommodate 136 table games and a further 1,200 slot machines.

Visitors can expect to enjoy all of the usual array of table games, including blackjack and roulette.

Elsewhere, all accommodation within the integrated resort will be of a five-star standard, which includes a 500-room hotel and luxury villas. There is also the scope for expansion with this accommodation.

Meanwhile, the resort will additionally include 11 restaurants and cafeterias, a conference hall that is large enough to squeeze in 1,500 people, a sports and wellness centre, high-end retail shops and an amphitheatre to use for outdoor entertainment.

There is additionally an extensive pool area with river woods and surf pools, alongside a collection of green areas.

When it comes to design and style, the integrated resort will be styled in a Mediterranean way and ‘be tailored to fit Cyprus’ natural environment and landscape’.

The tourism gains for Cyprus

The overall agenda for Cyprus is to make some adjustments to its image, where it gains a reputation as a luxury destination.

Critical to this intention is this integrated resort, which is the biggest investment project that the Mediterranean island has ever undertaken.

As previously mentioned, the total investment of the entire project is anticipated to eclipse £500 million, with the resort potentially bringing around £625 million to the Cyprus economy each year.

This will be supported by the projection of an extra 300,000 tourists arriving in Cyprus annually.

Cypriot residents will also be permitted to enter the resort, with 1.18 million people living on the island. Limassol is home to 154,000 of these.

The pop up temporary casino

In the three years between now and the main resort being completed, wannabe visitors can make use of a temporary venue instead, which has been opened nearby in a former grocery market.

Cyprus Casinos (C2) features a 1,300 square metre casino, giving visitors the opportunity to enjoy 33 table games and 242 slot machines.

It is open 24 hours each day and also incorporates a VIP gaming area, a restaurant and two bars.

Later this year will additionally see the creation of four satellite casinos across Cyprus in Famagusta, Larnaca, Nicosia and Paphos.

The Cyprus north-south casino divide

Since its launch in late June, results have not been described as an overwhelming success for C2.

Around 7,000 unique visitors stepped inside in the opening few days, with over 4,000 of these joining the reward club.

However, the Limassol location potentially remains at a disadvantage in comparison to rival casinos in the northern half of Cyprus, which are Turkish controlled.

C2 is Cyprus’ first legal casino and president Craig Ballantyne does not believe that current regulations are fair, which limits the success of his casino.

Speaking to the Cyprus Mail, he said of the northern casinos: “They give everything free. They give alcohol free, they give cigarettes and tobacco free, just about everything and anything.

“But they do not have the same regulations as we do so it is not a level playing field.”

Still, C2 has managed to draw in guests from Greece, Ukraine, Russia, Italy, Lebanon and the UK in its short time in operation, alongside many locals.

And the key now is whether the lure of the integrated resort can outdo all that the northern venues have to offer.