first_img Melco International Development grants Evan Winkler HK$269 million share options RelatedPosts The Property President of Melco Resorts’ temporary casino in Cyprus, Craig Ballantyne, has pointed to the country’s many illegal casinos as a major problem following a slower than expected first week of operations.Quoted by the Cyprus Mail, Ballantyne said that the temporary facility, named Cyprus Casino, has attracted 7,000 unique visitors since opening on 28 June with 4,000 joining the rewards club, but added that competition from casinos in the north had impacted visitation. Melco Resorts is currently building Cyprus’ first integrated resort with the €550 million City of Dreams Mediterranean scheduled to open in 2021. Melco Resorts completes acquisition of 75% stake in Cyprus casino firm from parent “It has been a real rollercoaster ride,” Ballantyne said. “From the plain perspective, it’s been a bit of fun but it’s below expectations I have to say that. We’re not the only game in town and we never have been, never will be.“With a customer, it’s all about choice – you cannot insist they go anywhere with their disposable income. You cannot twist their arm. It’s all about the offer.”Cyprus currently has around 30 small casinos operating in the north and although none can match the scale of Cyprus Casino, Ballantyne noted that the rival operations “give everything free. They give alcohol free, they give cigarettes and tobacco free, just about everything and anything.“But they don’t have the same regulations as we do so it’s not a level playing field.”Despite the early challenges, Ballantyne said that Melco Resorts was still learning the ins and outs of the local market and would adjust accordingly over the coming months. He also revealed that the company is already in discussions with authorities to relax some regulations he describes as discriminatory – namely advertising laws preventing operators from promoting the idea of a life-changing win.“We wouldn’t want to do that,” Ballantyne said, “but then you’ve got Lotto advertising on TV every night and you’ve got Opap (Greece’s lone lottery and sports betting provider) advertising the Joker every day on every shop window in every street and every corner at €1.4 million or €2.4 million, so I kind of find that a little bit discriminatory.” Load More Melco Resorts distances itself from Chairman’s father, Dr Stanley Ho, amid inquiry into Crown Resorts acquisitionlast_img