NICOSIA Nike Vapormax Flyknit Triple Gold , Dec. 20 (Xinhua) -- Cyprus has placed its stakes on a casino resort project to stabilize its crucial tourism sector and keep the economy on track.
It will be the first legal casino to be established on the eastern Mediterranean island which is just emerging from a four-year recession following a 10-billion-euro (12.2 billion U.S. dollars) bailout by the Eurogroup and the International Monetary Fund two years ago.
Legislation regulating the operation of the casino has been scheduled to be passed by parliament early in the New Year and the concession is expected to be licensed by the end of 2015, an official said in an interview with state radio on Saturday.
The project has been exempted from town planning regulations and has been placed directly under the jurisdiction of the president's office, an indication of the government's will to circumvent bureaucracy that could bog down the complicated project.
Constantinos Petrides, Under Secretary to the President Nike Vapormax Triple Gold , said the government is expecting keen interest to be shown in the project. At least three established casino operators sounded out, including from the Far East, said they would bid to get the concession.
Petrides said the government had to choose between several small casinos, at least one for each of the island's five cities which would require a modest investment and a large one.
It opted for a large integrated casino that beyond gaming it will offer luxury accommodation above a five-star hotel standard Nike Vapormax Flyknit Triple White , quality entertainment and dining of world standard.
"It will be a top comprehensive casino resort in Europe and one of the best in the world," said the preamble of the voluminous draft law which was just sent to parliament for consideration and approval.
The choice of the site for the casino is left to the successful bidder.
Petrides said that the projected investment for the project will be close to 1 billion euros.
The casino and casino related operations are projected to offer employment to 3,000 people, about one fifth of current unemployment Nike Vapormax Triple White , Petrides said.
The casino is intended not only for the rich of the world but also for local gamblers who spend an estimated 30 million euros each year by crossing into the northern part of Cyprus to put their stakes in several hotel casinos operating on the other side of the divided island.
The casino law states that its objectives are "to control, limit and strictly regulate casino gaming in the Republic of Cyprus, to combat criminal activity in gaming and channel consumers wishing to game at a casino away from illegal and poorly regulated establishments."
The Cypriot government pins high hopes on the casino to provide an alternative tourist attraction that will help diversify tourism and also extend the tourist season into the winter months from November to March.
Sun-drenched Cyprus attracts more than 2 million tourists a year who mostly flock from April to the end of October to sandy beaches or roam around antiquities ranging from stone-age settlements to the remains of Hellenistic and Roman cities and theaters lying next to Byzantine churches and mediaeval Venetian fortresses and mansions.
Tourism accounts for about 12.5 percent of the island's annual economic output and has helped the economy withstand the shock of the bailout austerity adjustment program and the restructuring of the banking system.
The casino concession will be valid for 30 years and will enjoy 15 years of exclusive operation, meaning that the government will not grant another integrated casino resort license for that period.
The state will take 15 percent of gross income from gambling and an annual fee of 2.5 million euros for each year for the first four years Nike Vapormax Flyknit Off White , rising to 5 million euros per year for the next four years, after which it may be reviewed upwards every four years.
The operation will be controlled by a 7-member Gaming and Casino Supervision Authority which will be tasked overseeing all casino activities and with making sure that the it will be kept away of organized crime. It will also have exclusive authority to license all casino employees. (1 euro = 1.22 U.S. dollars)
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