Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment documented two significant expansion projects recently, with developments in Washington and Athens detailed amid much excitement by the group.

The latter sees the developer and operator vow to launch a new era of tourism and economic growth for Greece and Southeast Europe, after receiving an operating licence by the Hellenic Gaming Commission regarding the development.

Inspire Athens, which became the winning bid in partnership with Gek Terna, proposes a facility that includes a luxury hotel, premier entertainment venues, convention centre, shopping, dining, casino, and a comprehensive mix of premium amenities.

Following a long period of interest in the region by the group, Mario Kontomerkos, Mohegan Gaming an Entertainment president and CEO, expressed delight at finally securing confirmation: “A significant part of Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment’s strategic growth plan and business model is creating opportunities for generational success,” he says.

“Southern Europe is an extremely fruitful market and naturally, we are very excited for the opportunity to bring MGE’s unique culture and world-class entertainment offerings to a city with such untapped potential like Athens.”

The casino property is to form one part of Lamda Development‘s wider €8bn Hellinikon Project, being developed on the site of the old Ellinikon International Airport which has sat empty for over 18 years after being replaced by the new Athens entity. 

“Inspire Athens is designed to deliver significant benefits both to us and to Greece”

The wider multi-faceted construction is also slated to incorporate a metropolitan park, shops, offices, sports and conference facilities, luxury hotels, museums, malls, cultural venues, health centres, educational and research facilities and a marina.

Kontomerkos moved on to elaborate on what appealing about Greece as the site within which to make the firm’s European entry: “With a combination of a new government that is business friendly, as well as timeless characteristics such as a great climate, excellent infrastructure, warm Greek hospitality and excellent food, the sun, and the sea, Greece, and Athens specifically, is ready to become the preeminent entertainment capital of Southern Europe.

“Our global growth strategy remains top-of-mind, and we are very optimistic in our future. We are set to open Mohegan Sun Casino at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas in January 2021, which will mark the first-ever tribal-run casino in the Entertainment Capital of the World. Our growth milestones, combined with our recent, winning bid in Greece are all signs of positive momentum for our business.”

MGE also says that its involvement in the Hellinikon Project will support Greece’s local economy through the creation of more than 7,000 jobs in the region during and after construction, including direct, indirect, and induced employment.

“Inspire Athens is designed to deliver significant benefits both to us and to Greece, both in the near term and for generations to come,” Kontomerkos explains on the company’s aim of support local economic growth, and how important these contributions are to all involved.

“In the near-term, even before the project opens, the benefits include the creation of 7,000 construction and operational jobs in aggregate, and the cooperation we have made with many local Greek companies. We have made a pledge to utilise primarily Greek professional companies, banks, law firms, engineering and construction and we will continue to do so. 

“…ilani is already one of the most successful entertainment brands in the Pacific Northwest”

“After the project opens, we expect that Inspire Athens will increase international tourism in the Attica region by at least 10 per cent through a vibrant new meetings and conventions focus and our A-List arena concerts; that will contribute millions of Euros annually, in both sales and tax dollars, to both the government and the people of Greece; that we will spend hundreds of millions of Euros per year on local vendors; that we will support dozens of local charities, and finally, in working together with the government, that Inspire Athens will be the spark that sets off the domino effect that draws hundreds of millions if not billions more investment in the Hellenikon area to finally create the Athenian Riviera, and potentially redefine the identity of this area as the top destination for meetings in entertainment in all of Southern Europe.”

The conversation then saw attention turn to Washington’s ilani Casino Resort, with another “major” expansion project unveiled in partnership with the Cowlitz Tribe, Howard Wright and Friedmutter Group.

Kontomerkos addressed the importance of the development to the future of the venue: “MGE is known for providing all-encompassing entertainment offerings and with this expansion, the future of ilani is perfectly aligned with our vision of delivering best-in-class entertainment and gaming. 

“As part of the expansion, ilani is set to introduce new dining options, additional gaming space and a new hotel tower, which will set the property up to become the top entertainment destination in that region and we look forward to welcoming more guests and visitation to the property in years to come.”

With construction for two new dining venues and additional gaming space already beginning, upon completion the expansion will bring ilani’s total property size to over 400,000 square feet. 

In early 2021, construction will begin on ilani’s 14-story, 300-room hotel glass tower, which will feature large suites and amenities such as a spa, fitness centre, top-floor restaurant and more.

“In the span of three short years, ilani is already one of the most successful entertainment brands in the Pacific Northwest, “ Kontomerkos proudly proclaimed in conclusion.

“The expansion will continue to extend the excitement of ilani brand further into the region, with the goal of positioning the property as the premier gaming, dining, entertainment, and meeting destination in that region.”