Cyprus first week a rollercoaster ride: Ballantyne

The opening of Melco’s new Cyprus temporary casino was below expectation, and the casino’s property president said local competition is to blame, Cyprus Mail reports.

City of Dreams Mediterranean property president Craig Ballantyne said around 7,000 unique guests have visited the property so far, with over 4,000 joining the casino rewards program.

“There were a lot of people we expected and some we didn’t,” said Ballantyne. He noted that the main clientele included locals from Cyprus, Greece, Ukraine, Russia, UK, Italy and Lebanon, in that order.

However, the property president also admitted that they foresee some challenges for the property, especially from local competitors.

Commenting on the first week of operations, Ballantyne said “it has been a real rollercoaster ride. 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.”

It is understood that Ballantyne was talking about competition from the north and illegal casinos operating across the country.

“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.”

Ballantyne said there were about 30 casinos in the north.

“They give everything free. They give alcohol-free, they give cigarettes and tobacco-free, just about everything and anything,” he said.

“But they don’t have the same regulations as we do so it’s not a level playing field.”

However, Ballantyne said it was still early days, and that they are currently in discussions with authorities to relax certain regulations related to advertising.