U.S. regional tribal casino operator Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment is pushing back the opening of its new casino resort in Incheon, near South Korea’s capital Seoul, the company’s chief executive has confirmed.
During a conference call on the firm’s latest quarterly results on Tuesday, the firm’s CEO Mario Kontomerkos said the company is targeting “an overall project opening for late 2020 or early 2021”.
The U.S. casino firm – also commonly known as Mohegan Sun – had previously stated it expected to open the first phase of the scheme by 2020, while targeting to break ground before the end of calendar year 2017.
But last week Connecticut, U.S.-based The Day newspaper quoted company chairman Kevin Brown saying the start of construction had to be pushed back “for next spring” because the partners needed more time to secure the necessary permits.
Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment is one of the investors in the scheme, dubbed the Inspire project (pictured in an artist’s rendering). The other consortium partner is South Korean chemicals manufacturer KCC Corp. Incheon International Airport Corp, the operator of the air hub next door to the project, is also involved in the scheme.
Mr Kontomerkos on Tuesday confirmed that the postponement was “due to delays in receiving certain permits”. He added that “the project continues apace in terms of detailed design, where we have now reached the 90 percent threshold,” stating that there is “higher confidence in the budget” for Inspire.
The first phase of the scheme has an estimated budget of US$1.6 billion, with a total commitment of US$5 billion for multiple phases over a period of 20 years, according to previous information from Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment.
The project – the company’s first venture outside North America – would include a foreigner-only casino; three hotel towers with a total of 1,350 rooms; a 15,000-seat arena; a theme park; convention space; and shops and restaurants.
Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment currently only has operations in the United States. It owns and operates Mohegan Sun, a large-scale casino complex in Connecticut. The firm also owns and operates Mohegan Sun Pocono, in Pennsylvania. It additionally manages gaming facilities in Washington, Louisiana and Atlantic City.
The tribal casino operator reported net revenue of US$362 million for the three months ended September 30, a year-on-year increase of 4.5 percent. The firm posted net income of US$55.4 million for the period, up 25.4 percent from the prior-year period.
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"We believe the better-than-expected November gross gaming revenue number [in Macau] positions MGM [China Holdings Ltd] especially well for a strong opening in Cotai”
Japanese brokerage Nomura