Grand Korea Leisure Co Ltd – which runs three foreigners-only casinos in South Korea under the Seven Luck brand (pictured) – appears to have distanced itself from reports linking it with Mohegan Sun, a U.S. regional casino operator, for a project near Incheon.
“Officials from Mohegan Sun visited the firm’s headquarters once, but the purpose of their visit was not related to talks on investment in Yeongjongdo,’’ GKL said in a press release quoted by the Korea Herald, and referring to Yeongjong Island, a special economic zone near to Incheon International Airport. The latter serves the capital Seoul and is one of the busiest airline hubs in Asia.
The Korea Economic Daily, quoting investment banking sources, had earlier reported that Mohegan Sun was planning to link with GKL for its first Asian casino venture. The same report indicated Mohegan Sun would bring to the project Macau junket operator Tak Chun Group and Australia-listed boutique casino operator Donaco International Ltd.
No reports of comment by Mohegan Sun, Tak Chun or Donaco have so far emerged. Mohegan Sun runs three casinos in Connecticut, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, respectively. Donaco is currently a one-property operator, running the Aristo International casino hotel in Lao Cai, near Vietnam’s northern border with China. The company is also acquiring the Star Vegas Resort and Club casino property in Poipet, Cambodia.
According to the Korea Herald, Choi Ji-young, a GKL spokesperson, has confirmed GKL is considering a project at Yeongjong Island.
“It is true that we are conducting a feasibility study for a casino on the island, but no details [on the project] have been discussed yet,’’ the spokesperson said.
Grand Korea Leisure is an affiliate of the Korea Tourism Organization, South Korea’s official tourism agency. The casino operator is listed on the Korea Exchange.
Authorities in South Korea have already approved two gaming resort projects for Yeongjong Island. One is a venture between South Korea’s Paradise Co Ltd and Japan’s Sega Sammy Holdings Inc. The other is from Caesars Entertainment Corp and Hong Kong-listed Lippo Ltd for an integrated resort expected to be ready by 2018. The casinos inside them will also be restricted to serving foreign players.
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Year-on-year decline in overall turnover recorded in 2017 by South Korea’s foreigner-only casinos