The new casino resort to be built in Incheon, near South Korea’s capital Seoul, is expected to break ground in 2017, said Bobby Soper (pictured), president of U.S. regional tribal casino operator Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority, also known as Mohegan Sun.
The consortium led by Mohegan Sun has been awarded a casino licence by the South Korean government, as part of an integrated resort licence bidding process initiated in 2015, it was announced on Friday by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.
“We anticipate breaking ground early 2017,” Mr Soper told GGRAsia in an email.
“Mohegan Sun is excited to bring its expertise and entertainment-driven brand to the international stage,” he added.
The winning consortium includes two other partners, South Korean chemicals manufacturer KCC Corp and Incheon International Airport Corp (IIAC), the operator of the airport.
The licence allows the consortium to set up a foreigners-only casino. The scheme – Mohegan Sun’s first venture outside of North America – is scheduled to begin operations by 2020.
The project – dubbed ‘Inspire’ – includes a private air terminal, which would be part of the resort. The air terminal would be run as a private airport, under what is known as a fixed-base operator (FBO) arrangement.
“We deeply appreciate the careful review that the Korean [sic] government has conducted on this bold new initiative for tourism in Korea,” said Chung Il-young, chief executive of IIAC, in a statement.
“Its selection of the Inspire project is wonderful news for the Incheon region and will serve as a catalyst for growth in the airport development zone for years to come.”
The Inspire Integrated Resort project would also include a casino with 250 gaming tables and 1,500 slot machines, a three-tower luxury hotel complex with 1,350 rooms, a 15,000-seat arena, a Paramount Studios theme park and a eco adventure park.
The first phase of the project is estimated at US$1.6 billion, with a commitment total of US$5 billion over multiple phases, according to Mohegan Sun.
In a press release on Friday, Mohegan Sun said that Miura Holdings Asia, a multi-purpose investment vehicle focused on gaming, hotel and food and beverage activities in the United States and Asia, is joining the project as part of the development team.
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”They want us to invest as well. The government there wants to see growth in Macau. We are not that concerned about that issue [licence renewal] at all”
Chairman and chief executive of Las Vegas Sands