United States-based tribal casino operator Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment told GGRAsia that the company was still working to meet its goal of opening in 2022 its multi-billion casino resort project in South Korea. That was despite the current challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, confirmed the company’s chief executive Mario Kontomerkos.
The scheme – known as ‘Inspire’ (pictured in an artist’s rendering) – is located in Incheon, near South Korea’s capital Seoul.
Economies across the world are expected to struggle as countries implemented lockdowns, curfews and other restrictions as part of efforts to contain the further spread of Covid-19. In several countries, only essential services remained opened during mandatory lockdowns to limit the spread of Covid-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus.
The effects of the Covid-19 pandemic have also led to market-wide temporary closures of casinos in key gaming jurisdictions in the Asia-Pacific region and elsewhere, including Singapore, the Philippines, South Korea, Malaysia, Australia and markets in the United States.
GGRAsia asked Mohegan Gaming if the group expected any setbacks to its Inspire project due to eventual delays in construction because of restrictions in South Korea linked to efforts to stem the spread of Covid-19 in that nation. Mr Kontomerkos replied: “Regarding Inspire, work continues and we are working toward our 2022 goal.”
By 2022, the first phase of project Inspire is to include 1,250 hotel rooms, a 15,000-seat entertainment venue, 40 food and beverage outlets, as well as a foreigner-only gaming venue with 160 table games and 700 slot machines, according to Mohegan Gaming’s latest annual report filed in December.
A total capital commitment of US$5 billion has been mentioned for multiple phases over two decades. According to the Korea Times newspaper, the scheme is to be developed in four phases, with the final phase to be completed by 2031.
In December, Mohegan Gaming said it had an agreement for co-development of the project with Hanwha Corp, one of South Korea’s largest conglomerates. Hanwha Engineering and Construction is the main contractor for the casino resort project, while Hanwha Hotels and Resorts will be responsible for the hotel operations once the scheme opens.
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