A government bill to privatize the Mont Parnes casino near Athens received parliamentary approval on March 2, despite disagreement from the opposition over its terms. The ruling Pasok party’s parliamentary majority voted through the bill in principle, which grants casino staff job security for six years. The next step is for detailed debate and a vote on each article of the bill. Responding to complaints that the casino was undersold, Development Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said that under the terms of sale for 49% of Mont Parnes, the buyer would pay an initial sum of about 90 million euros and undertook to invest a further 35 million. Winners of the bid are the casino and hotel group Hyatt Regency and construction company Hellenic Technodomiki.
As well, under the present agreement, the government acquired the right to receive 30 million euros annually from the ceding of the casino operating license, while the Forestry Department would receive 4.5 million euros for the protection of the Mount Parnitha nature reserve.