The casino group, Melco Resorts & Entertainment Limited, who are behind the upcoming integrated casino resort “City of Dreams Mediterranean”, in Limassol, Cyprus, announced on the 6thFebruary 2020, that the coronavirus does not affect the grand project’s implementation process, and remains committed to Cyprus (https://in-cyprus.com/coronavirus-outbreak-wont-affect-cyprus-casino-implementation-process/).
Melco declared in the media statement, that it “considers its core operations to be those businesses where it is the managing and majority shareholder. This includes operations in Macau, the Philippines, and Cyprus and its efforts to obtain a license to operate a Melco-owned in Japan” (https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2020/02/06/1980881/0/en/Melco-to-Focus-on-Core-Operations-as-a-Result-of-Global-Health-Emergency-and-Impact-of-Restrictions-on-Visitor-Travel-to-Macau.html).
As such, it intends to continue its operations in the above jurisdictions and carry out key investments currently earmarked for Macau, Manila, Cyprus, and Japan, including the construction of Studio City phase 2 and City of Dreams Mediterranean.
Melco also announced that “due to the impact of the coronavirus epidemic, including the severe drop in tourism in Asia to Integrated Resort (IR) facilities in the region, and the recent decision by the Macau SAR government to close all casinos in Macau, Melco has taken the decision to reassess all non-core investments to be made in 2020”.
The casino group abandoned its plans to raise its stake in Australian rival, Crown Resorts, in the first instance of dealmaking falling apart, as a result of the deadly coronavirus epidemic. The USD 880 million agreement was to raise its stake in Crown to 19.99 per cent, from the 10 per cent it currently holds (https://www.ft.com/content/4591019c-4965-11ea-aeb3-955839e06441?desktop=true).
On a grand scale, the forced shutdown of Macau’s USD 40 billion casino industry, on the 4th February 2020, underlines the outbreak’s widening ramifications, as the move is the first in the history of the world’s largest gambling centre, apart from brief weather-related closures (https://www.ft.com/content/71271bd1-0cf5-439d-8423-0100ea4de437?emailId=5e3d36d74da2320004daa988&segmentId=41d35dc7-c65c-1eaf-153e-36ff476dbbb4).
The death toll from the coronavirus currently surpasses 1,300, with over 64,400 cases of infection, circa 7,100 individuals recovered, as of 14th February 2020 (https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/).
Despite the fact that Macau-based Melco has taken a number of preventive measures, as mentioned above, it is focused on proceeding with the implementation of the City of Dreams Mediterranean in Limassol, Cyprus.
The Integrated Casino Resort (ICR) will be located in Zakaki, Limassol, whereby the 367,000m2 site will include a sixteen-story hotel tower with 500 five-star guestrooms and exclusive suites and 9 world-class restaurants and bars (https://www.cityofdreamsmed.com.cy/en/doc/ICR_factsheet_EN.pdf).
It will also consist of a 7,500m2 gaming area, with over 80 tables and 1,000 state-of-the-art- slot machines, as well as over 9,600m2 of Expo, ballroom, convention, meeting and pre-function areas, and spa and fitness facilities.
Once the ICR is fully operational, the resort is expected to contribute to approximately 2,400 permanent jobs. After the second year of operation, the ICR is expected to contribute approximately EUR 700 million per year to the Cypriot economy, amounting to circa 4% of the country’s annual GDP.
The City of Dreams Mediterranean is expected to open its doors by end of 2021 or beginning of 2022.