The Paradise City casino resort at Incheon in South Korea – with a gaming facility open only to foreigners – is to launch its first phase on April 20.
The initial phase will consist of a casino, a hotel and a conference-cum-banquet facility.
So said a Thursday release from Tokyo-based Japanese pachinko operator Sega Sammy Holdings Inc. The company is an investor in Paradise Sega Sammy Co Ltd, a joint venture firm set up in partnership with South Korea’s Paradise Co Ltd – an operator of foreigner-only casinos in that country – to develop and operate Paradise City (pictured in an artist’s rendering).
The document said the total investment amount for the 333,000-square-metre (3.58 million-sq-foot) site was KRW1.3 trillion (US$1.12 billion). It added: “The amount invested by Sega Sammy is KRW232.9 billion.”
The release additionally stated the casino – judged by floor space – would be “one of the largest” in South Korea, with 154 game tables, 281 slot machines, and four installations of electronic games offering an aggregate of 62 seats. The casino area will also have restaurants and bars, said the release.
A 711-room hotel will include suites and pool villa accommodation. It will additionally have: Japanese-, Chinese-, Italian- and buffet-style restaurants; an “entertainment bar”; a spa and sauna; fitness facilities; indoor and outdoor pools; and a play area for children.
The convention facility will offer a ballroom, two “medium-sized” party rooms, and five meeting rooms, and can cater for “international conferences… events [and] weddings,” said the release.
The document added that Paradise City is five minutes away – by high-speed maglev train – from Incheon International Airport.
A further phase – with a “commercial facility”; cultural centre; spa; club; “entertainment facility”; and boutique hotel – is due to open in the first half of 2018, according to the release.
Paradise Co currently operates five foreigner-only casinos in South Korea, including an existing one at Incheon. The country has 17 casinos but only one – Kangwon Land in a remote upland area – is allowed to serve South Korean nationals.
In 2016, South Korea received just over 17.2 million overseas visitors, with nearly 47 percent of the tally – or over 8 million arrivals – generated by China, according to figures published by the Korea Tourism Organization.
Paradise Co said in its annual results issued in February that Chinese VIP players accounted for 52.1 percent of the group’s 2016 casino drop.
The launch of Paradise City is likely to affect negatively the operating profit of Paradise Co in the short term, but should boost the firm’s revenue and income from 2018 onward, said Seoul-based brokerage Shinhan Investment Corp in a February note.
Brokerage Aegis Capital Corp said in a March 6 note that recent geopolitical tensions between China and South Korea over deployment of a U.S. missile system, could benefit Macau by diverting Chinese tourists away from South Korea.
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Cameron McKnight and Robert Shore
Analysts at Wells Fargo Securities