The cabinet on Thursday rubber-stamped the casino licence deal with the only bidder, Melco Hard Rock consortium.
“With today’s decision, the council of ministers has completed an ambitious endeavour that started about three years ago,” Commerce and Energy Minister Yiorgos Lakkotrypis said.
“This is a great project, which will enrich our tourist product and create new jobs,” he said.
Now only the signing of the license with the gaming authority remains, and a coordinating committee will oversee the work to ensure that the criteria of the proposal and the evaluation have been met.
The casino licence allows for the operation of an integrated casino resort in Cyprus for 30 years, as a monopoly for the first 15, and for a satellite casino in Nicosia – as well as three slot-machine parlours, one each in the districts of Larnaca, Paphos and Famagusta.
The consortium plans to build the proposed casino resort in Limassol.
The entire investment is estimated at some €500 million. According to the government, the casinos will attract an additional 300,000 tourists a year.
Some 4,000 people would be employed during the construction phase, and a similar number once all the casinos are operational, Lakkotrypis said.
The satellite casino in Nicosia is estimated to be up and running by mid-2017, and a temporary casino in Limassol – until the full-blow casino resort is ready – later that year.
The planned temporary casino will likely be located at the current premises of the Monte Caputo nightspot on Amathus Avenue.
Construction on the resort – which will include a luxury hotel and theme parks – is expected to be completed by late 2019 or early 2020.