The promoter of the Inspire Entertainment Resort in South Korea has officially submitted a request to the local government to postpone the opening of the scheme to 2023, a spokesperson confirmed on Wednesday to GGRAsia. The project is being developed by U.S.-based tribal casino operator Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment.
The company is now proposing “early 2023” as the intended opening schedule for its South Korea casino resort, also known as Inspire Korea (pictured in an artist’s rendering), said the person. The firm would however strive to have it open by the “second half of 2022,” added the spokesperson.
The request to delay the launch of the project was submitted in late 2020 to South Korea’s Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, stated the spokesperson. “We hope that the ministry would approve our application within January 2021,” the person said in a phone interview.
A representative from the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism told GGRAsia on Wednesday that the company’s application was “still under examination”.
The scheme is located at Incheon, near Seoul, close to South Korea’s main international air hub. Mohegan Gaming had said previously that it expected to open the scheme in the second half of 2022. In December, the company referred for the first time publicly to the new opening date of 2023.
The casino resort has been described by its promoter as a multiphase, multibillion-U.S. dollar scheme.
The first phase of Inspire is to include three hotels with an aggregate of 1,250 rooms, a 15,000-seat entertainment venue, and 40 food and beverage outlets; as well as a foreigner-only gaming venue with 160 table games and 700 slot machines, according to information previously published by Mohegan Gaming.
The Inspire scheme is about “12 percent completed” and construction is currently ongoing, the spokesperson told GGRAsia. The person added that the Covid-19 pandemic had “slowed progress” in the construction of Inspire Korea, as well as its financing. The company said in December that financing for the scheme was due to close in “early 2021”.
In November, the Incheon Free Economic Zone Authority said that Mohegan Gaming would bring forward US$200 million worth of investment for Inspire Korea, as part of a ‘Foreign Direct Investment Plan’. The casino resort’s spokesperson told GGRAsia on Wednesday that the company expected to finalise such investment in 2021.
On January 15, Mohegan Gaming announced an offering of US$1.175 billion in aggregate principal amount of 8.000-percent senior secured notes, due 2026. The net proceeds from the offering – as well as borrowings under a new senior secured credit facility, together with cash on hand – “will be used to fund the repayment, satisfaction and discharge of certain existing indebtedness of Mohegan Gaming,” said the company.
In the quarter to September 30, Mohegan Gaming – which has several properties in the United States market, including its flagship venue Mohegan Sun, in Connecticut – reported net revenues down 29.0 percent year-on-year, to US$294.0 million, from US$414.0 million.
Adjusted earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation fell by 7.4 percent, to just under US$82.8 million from US$89.4 million in the prior-year quarter, said the earnings presentation.
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"In light of the ongoing Covid-19 disruption and continued travel restrictions across Asia Pacific, G2E Asia has shifted its focus to 2022 to ensure we meet the show’s high expectations, which we share with our valued exhibitors and attendees”
Project director at Reed Exhibitions, one of the organisers of the G2E Asia trade event