Saturday, December 16, 2017

Is Mykonos Destined to be Europe's Las Vegas?


Jeff—Saturday

Five years ago I wrote a book with what some thought a “preposterous, never happen” premise: a plot centered on turning Mykonos, the Aegean Greek island I call home, into Europe’s Las Vegas.  How foolish of me to suggest that Mykonians would ever countenance such a terminal end to their treasured island paradise’s ways. 





I remember delivering a copy of that book to the newly elected mayor in his office at the town hall. I also remember what I said to him at that time.  “Mister Mayor, if what I wrote comes true, it will happen on your watch.”  He promised me it wouldn’t.



Here’s an excerpt from Chief Inspector Andreas Kaldis’ fifth mystery-thriller, Mykonos After Midnight, highlighting the concerns that triggered my warning to the mayor:


“Can you imagine what a casino would do for Mykonos?  It would turn the place into the Las Vegas of the Mediterranean."

“And that's a good thing?  ... Don't you think the island has gone about as far off in the ‘nightlife direction’ as the Mykonians can take?”…

“If we'd commit as a community to turning our island into a worldwide entertainment destination, a Las Vegas on the sea, it would become a year-round tourist attraction, and not just a place for partying…in the summer…But none of that is ever going to happen…The big boys here have all the juice and the big boys elsewhere don't want Mykonos to have a casino.  And you don't have to look very hard to see how nasty some of them are willing to play… Those boys play for keeps. So, unless you're prepared to play by their rules, stay away.”

“[H]ere we are…on the verge of bringing…[foreign organized crime] to Mykonos… Wholly different rules.  No one, not a child, mother, you name it, is off limits.”...

“And once here, they'll want a piece of everything they can get their hands on.”…

“Las Vegas may not be a bad comparison for the way Mykonos could end up.  I hear it's surrounded by desert filled with never to be discovered bodies.  Mykonos has the Aegean.”

“Let's hope it doesn't go that way.” 

“What's to stop it?  If all it takes is money to do whatever you want, those with the most get to call the shots.”…

“If you're right, there's nothing you or I can do to affect the end of that story; it's all up to the Mykonians.”

*****

That’s what I wrote in 2012, now take a look at this excerpt from an article appearing four days ago (December 12, 2017) in Casino News Daily titled, “Opposition Mounts to Mykonos Casino Construction Proposal”:


Municipal authorities of the Greek island of Mykonos have launched a process for gathering signatures for a referendum on the potential construction of a casino. The move came after it was announced that the Greek government was considering a gambling bill that, among other things, would expand the country’s casino industry.
Under the bill, three new casino licenses could be issued for each of three Greek islands, with those being Mykonos, Crete, and Santorini. All three are among Greece’s major tourist hubs.
Local media reported that Mykonos Mayor Constantinos Koukas recently proposed the launch of a signature collection process. The move was approved by the Mykonos council without objection and was launched shortly after.
It is understood that Mykonos officials are trying to collect enough signatures for a referendum at which residents will be able to voice their opinion on the proposed casino. According to local media, the island’s Mayor and council undertook the move in hopes to prevent the construction of the gambling venue
Greece’s casino expansion effort came as part of the government’s plan to overhaul the nation’s gambling industry. The changes have been pushed for by the Ministry of Finance for quite some time now…
It is believed that the Greek government will vote on the casino expansion proposal before Christmas. And according to reports from local media, the bill has already gained quite a lot of momentum and will likely be passed
The legislative piece contains provisions that will create a licensing system for foreign gambling operators to be able to participate in the country’s market.


It looks like the “big boys” off the island—and perhaps on—decided a casino on Mykonos wasn’t such a bad idea after all, nor is bringing in foreign gambling operators.  I wonder what the referendum will show the Mykonians to think about all of this, not that their referendum at this late a date in the process will likely affect the outcome. 

What I wonder even more is whether the mayor was thinking of our conversation when he called for the referendum.  After all, he was warned not just by me, but by the international criminal mastermind in Mykonos After Midnight who, after thwarted in its (fictional) efforts to build a casino hotel on Mykonos, said this:

“I want you to go back to Mykonos and wait.  We will forget about this hotel deal… Still, a seed has been planted, and the possibility looms in the minds of those who matter that there is great profit to be made for those willing to sell their birthright.  We just must be ready for the opportunities.  They will come in many forms as Greeks struggle to find a new direction.”

Ah, yes, fiction.  How I love it when it shows the way. And hate it when it comes true.


—Jeff
Jeff’s Upcoming Events

My ninth Chief Inspector Andreas Kaldis novel, AN AEGEAN APRIL, publishes on January 2, 2018 and here is the first stage of my book tour:

Thursday, January 4 @ 7PM
Poisoned Pen Bookstore,
Scottsdale, AZ (joint appearance with Thomas Perry)

Saturday, January 6 @ 2 PM            
Clues Unlimited
Tucson, AZ

Monday, January 8  @ 7PM
Vromans (on Colorado)
Pasadena, CA

Wednesday, January 10 @ 7PM                   
Tattered Cover (on Colfax)
Denver, CO

Saturday, January 13 @ 2 PM                      
Book Carnival 
Orange, CA

Sunday, January 14 @ 2 PM
Mysterious Galaxy
San Diego, CA

Wednesday, January 17 @ 7 PM      
Third Place Books (Lake Forest Park)
Seattle, WA

Thursday, January 18 @ 7 PM
Janet Rudolph’s Mystery Readers Literary Salon
Berkeley, CA

Sunday, January 21 @ 7 PM
Book Passage
Corte Madera, CA

Thursday, January 25 @ 7 PM
Mysterious Bookshop
New York, NY

Friday, February 2 @ 7PM
Centuries & Sleuths (Forest Park)
Chicago, IL

Saturday, February 3 @ 12 PM
Once Upon A Crime
Minneapolis, MN

10 comments:

  1. Truth may be stranger than fiction, but it is downright scary when they collide.

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    Replies
    1. You made the right decision on where to live...if only because you can't follow the news as easily. :)

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  2. Madness lies in that direction, Bro. I know you are hoping for the best. So am I.

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    Replies
    1. For sure, but these days giving hope a chance seems more a song lyric than a reality for the island.

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  3. If water can find a way to flow, it will. Money is denser than water and yet more fluid. If money can be forced to flow, it will be forced, regardless of opposing forces.

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  4. Jeff, this has happened too many times to be mere coincidence. You must be both blessed and cursed by the gift of foresight!

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  5. Amazing how often it happens, isn't it, Jeff? You take a preposterous idea and then go one step further, and more often than not, reality catches up with your imagination in the worst way ...

    But while you're being so prescient, any heads-up on the next winning lottery numbers ...?

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    Replies
    1. I'd have been better off predicting bitcoins. :)

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  6. Well, art reflects life, and you were quire prescient. It's an awful development, a horrible development for a country thousands of years old with so many contributions to the world's arts and development.
    What are the Greek people saying about this? There should be loud protests.

    ReplyDelete