AUSTRIAN and US investors have joined forces in a plan to construct a casino and entertainment center near the number 15 main road in north-western Hungary.

Austrian construction and tourism group Asamer & Hufnagl Holding (Aramer) and US-based group Royal Distribution have formed an investor consortium to build the facility, which would be located between the towns of Hegyeshalom, Mosonmagyaróvár and Rajka.

Hegyeshalom Ipari Park Kft, the Mosonmagyaróvár-based subsidiary of Asamer, already owns approximately 170 hectares of land known as Hegyeshalom Ipari Park.

It is thought the joint venture – known as Crystal City – would invest Ft1 billion ($3.3 million) in the industrial park property, about 220km west of Budapest.

Plans include four hotels, as well as a casino, and were expected to provide jobs to about 2,500 people.

The news was confirmed by Edina Balogh, spokesman for the Finance Ministry, who added that Elemér Terták, Deputy State Secretary of the Finance Ministry, last week met with hopeful investors Joseph Jackson (father of pop idol Michael Jackson) and an Austrian.

However, Balogh added plans were still at a preliminary stage and said the ministry did not expect to invite bids for the right to operate a casino for the time being.

“We have received no official offer (from the consortium) as yet,” said Balogh.

Under recent Hungarian gambling law, all new casinos require a concession tender, according to Márta Sibinger President of the gaming supervision body Szerencsejáték Felúgyelet.

“Any new concession would have to be approved by the Finance Ministry,” said Sibinger. She added that currently there were only five casinos operating in Hungary (three in Budapest – the Las Vegas, Tropicana and Várkert – one in the border town of Sopron and another in Szentendre). A casino in Kecskemét closed on May 26.

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