Bloomberry Resorts Corp has announced the acquisition of 12.2 hectares (30.1 acres) of land located in Muui Island in South Korea. The property is inside the Incheon Free Economic Zone and “is intended to be developed into a leisure and tourism complex with entertainment facilities and mixed use developments,” said Bloomberry in a filing to the Philippine Stock Exchange.
The filing didn’t mention if there would be a casino on the site. But the authorities in South Korea have already approved two casino projects in the same economic zone.
Bloomberry is the developer and operator of Solaire Resort and Casino in Manila, in the Philippines, and has also expressed an interest in investing in the Japan market if casino resorts are legalised there.
The new land in South Korea will be acquired under Solaire Korea Co Ltd, a Korean subsidiary company of Bloomberry.
On January 18, the South Korean government said it would seek bids from private sector investors for two more foreigners-only casino licences, each with a minimum investment of KRW1 trillion (US$925 million). It didn’t specify a location for the new licences.
The already approved Incheon licences include a venture between South Korea’s Paradise Co Ltd and Japan’s Sega Sammy Holdings Inc. The other is for Caesars Entertainment Corp and Lippo Ltd for an integrated resort expected to be ready by 2018. Both are also for foreigners players-only casinos.
Other foreign investors – including a company led by Hong Kong billionaire Cheng Yu Tung, a long time associate of Macau casino entrepreneur Stanley Ho Hung Sun and investor in SJM Holdings Ltd’ parent company – have also been linked to a possible Incheon casino project. Incheon International Airport, which serves the South Korean capital Seoul, recorded 45.5 million passengers passing through it in 2014, a year-on-year rise in travellers of 9.7 percent, according to the country’s Yonhap News Agency.
The number of Chinese tourists to South Korea grew 46 percent in 2014, to 6.33 million, Yonhap reported on January 13, quoting the South Korean Embassy in Beijing. Mainland China is a major feeder market for South Korea’s gaming industry.
South Korea currently has 16 casinos for foreigners-only and one for locals, according to the University of Nevada Las Vegas Center for Gaming Research.
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Wilfred Wong Ying Wai
President and chief operating officer of Macau-based casino operator Sands China