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Cyprus to build 'Europe's biggest casino resort'

Cyprus to build 'Europe's biggest casino resort'

A new casino resort in Cyprus is expected to be Europe's biggest casino and it will be the centerpiece of the Mediterranean island's strategy for becoming a luxury tourism destination, Cyprus' president said on Friday.

Nicos Anastasiades said that City of Dreams Mediterranean casino resort valued 550 million Euro ($651 million) is the biggest investment project of Cyprus.

The casino which would start operating in 2021 will create around 6,500 jobs and attract an additional 300,000 visitors to Cyprus each year and add more than 700 million euros ($828.5 million) into the economy annually.

"Our country is not just an attractive 'sun and sea' tourist destination. It is much more than that," Anastasiades said at a ceremony.

"Cyprus has all the amenities to be established as one of the regional and global premium destination, and a destination for luxury tourism and responsible gaming," he said.

After a financial crisis that nearly bankrupted the country five years ago, Cyprus has rebounded with its economy projected to grow at around 3.5 percent annually in the next few years.

Chief Executive of Hong Kong-based Melco International Resorts and Entertainment, Lawrence Ho said that the resort project was his company's first expansion outside of Asia.

The resort will be offering 136 tables and 1,200 gaming machines, a five-star, 500-room hotel and luxury villas, 11 restaurants, retail shops, sports and wellness centers and an amphitheater.