Jeju Dream Tower (pictured in an artist’s rendering), a new resort with foreigner-only casino in a downtown area of Jeju City, the capital of that South Korean holiday island, has received a ‘suitable’ assessment from the local authorities regarding the social impact its gaming venue will have on the host community.
The project’s promoter, Lotte Tour Development Co Ltd, plans to launch the project in “October” this year, with “all facilities” to be opened at once, it told GGRAsia earlier this month.
The firm plans to relocate its current casino licence from Jeju Lotte Hotel to Jeju Dream Tower. The relocation includes an expansion of the casino area from 1,175 square metres (12,648 sq. feet) – featuring five table games and 51 gaming machines – to 5,367 sq. metres, with 150 table games and 300 machines.
The result of the Casino Impact Study Assessment of Jeju Dream Tower was announced on Friday. The project received a total of 1,000 points; it needed at least more than 800 points to get a ‘suitable’ result.
The assessment evaluated as positive Jeju Dream Tower’s impact on the local tourism sector, on employment and on tax revenue generation. It also highlighted the potential positive spill-over effect of the project on the local economy.
The positive assessment in itself does not mean the relocation of the casino to Jeju Dream Tower has been approved. The proposal must still undergo a hearing at the local legislature; only after that will Jeju’s governor make a decision on a final authorisation. The process might eventually impact the project’s opening schedule.
According to Jeju’s Casino Policy Division – which has the local role as a regulator – a social impact evaluation is legally required in cases where an existing Jeju casino operator wishes to expand, by more than two times, its gaming-operations capacity.
The construction of the Jeju Dream Tower began in May 2016. Its 38 floors make it the tallest building on Jeju. The complex is to house a Grand Hyatt-branded hotel as well as a casino and other leisure facilities.
According to information by Lotte Tour, construction is “99.9 percent” completed.
Jeju Dream Tower was the first project undergoing a Casino Impact Study Assessment in Jeju. The requirement was introduced by the amended “Regulations on the Management and Supervision of the Jeju Special Self-Governing Province’s Casino Business,” passed in December last year by the local legislature.
The regulations stipulate that any firm that plans to relocate or expand an existing casino in Jeju by more than 100 percent, must go through a Casino Impact Study Assessment.
According to reports by local media, the amendment was introduced following criticism related to firms relocating existing casinos while at the same time expanding by several times the size of the respective gaming areas.
A high-profile case involved the relocation of Landing Casino to Jeju Shinhwa World Marriott Resort from Hyatt Regency Jeju Hotel, a property located in a different part of Jeju Island. The relocation, in February 2018, included an expansion of seven times of the gaming area. Landing Casino is run by Hong Kong-listed Landing International Development Ltd.
At the time, Landing International was authorised to increase the casino gaming floor area to about 5,500 sq. metres from 800 sq. metres.
(Updated 12.01pm, Aug 17)
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