Hyatt Wins Bid for New Casino in Albania

TIRANA, Albania -- The Greek company Hyatt Regency Hotel & Tourism Hellas S.A. on Monday was chosen to build a casino in Albania, the Ministry of Finance reported.

The company received a 15-year license to operate a casino, for which it will freeze a minimum of 30 million leks (US$308,000) in an Albanian bank as basic capital.

Besnik Sula, the Albanian partner and owner of Taiwan-Parku Rinia, the building where the casino will be located, said the casino will be open by the end of October and cover one floor of the building, located in downtown Tirana.

Hyatt Regency Hotel & Tourism Hellas will invest US$16.8 million in the casino.

The other contender was another Greek company -- Club Hotel Loutrakki S.A. The Royal Palace Casino Ltd. of the U.S. state of Nevada and the Albanian Rozafa Casino Sh.A. took part in the first stage of bidding, but did not move on to the second stage.

Last year the government passed a law to increase regulations over casinos, which have spread throughout the Balkan country since its communist era.