U.S. regional tribal casino operator Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority, known as Mohegan Sun, confirms it will apply for a casino licence for land near South Korea’s Incheon International Airport.
“Yes, we will be submitting a RFP [request for proposal] response by the deadline,” the president of Mohegan Sun, Bobby Soper (pictured), told GGRAsia in an email.
The deadline for submissions under the RFP process, being held by South Korea’s Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, is November 27. The country’s government is poised to issue up to two new licences for so-called integrated resorts. The casino in any such resort would be for foreigners only. Each scheme would require a capital commitment equal to US$850 million. It had been reported in August that the competition had been slimmed to nine contenders for up to two permits.
Mohegan Sun has a partnership with South Korea’s Incheon International Airport Corp to develop the casino scheme. It would be Mohegan Sun’s first project outside the United States. The scheme – dubbed ‘Inspire’ – is still subject to Mohegan Sun securing a gaming licence for the casino portion of the site.
The total cost of the first phase is estimated at US$1.6 billion, with a commitment to spend a total of US$5 billion over 20 years, Mr Soper told GGRAsia in an interview earlier this year.
Grand Korea Leisure Co Ltd – a majority state-owned gaming operator in South Korea that also had land earmarked for resort development near Incheon International Airport – announced this week it will not apply for a casino licence. The company was quoted saying the decision was “due to the unfavourable business environment”.
Hong Kong-listed NagaCorp Ltd – which operates a casino resort in Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia – on Wednesday stated it would not bid for the development of an integrated resort in South Korea, with “casinos that will be open to foreigners only”.
Several analysts have highlighted the risk of any foreigners-only casino business model relying on Chinese gamblers during the current economic and policy adjustments that China is undergoing.
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