Genting Singapore Plc, the operator of the Resorts World Sentosa gambling resort in Singapore, said it is delaying the ground-breaking ceremony for its casino on South Korea’s Jeju Island. The event was scheduled for Tuesday, June 24.
In a statement on Thursday quoted by Channel News Asia, Genting Singapore said the rescheduling is to allow the company the time to brief the newly-elected governor of Jeju on the casino’s development plans.
Resorts World Jeju is now expected to break ground in the third quarter of 2014 and scheduled to open gradually from 2017, according to media reports.
Genting Singapore is partnering with mainland China developer Landing International Development Ltd to build the US$2.2 billion casino resort in Jeju. The partners had said the property will be modelled after Resorts World Sentosa in Singapore.
The casino, open only to foreigners, is expected to have 800 gaming tables, including 200 for high rollers.
South Korea forbids its citizens from gambling in casinos except at Kangwon Land, a difficult-to-access location 150 kilometres (93 miles) southeast of Seoul in Kangwon Province. The country has 16 foreigner-only casinos whose primary customers come from China and Japan.
China became South Korea’s main source of tourists in 2013, supplanting Japan, after Seoul relaxed visa rules for holders of Chinese mainland passports.
The number of foreign visitors to South Korea rose 9.3 percent year-on-year in 2013 to 12.2 million, according to Korea National Tourism Organisation data. Chinese tourists accounted for 30 percent of all visitors to the country.
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”I do not believe that this event [the collapse of a under-construction building in Sihanoukville] will slow down the issuance of [gaming] licences. Market forces will probably dictate the process as developers evaluate projected future demand for gaming in the region”
Senior partner at business consultancy Global Market Advisors