South Korea has officially approved plans for the first foreign owned casino to be built inside its borders. This is a move that was long resisted by the Korean government, but after looking at the success of similar casinos in Macau and Singapore, they have changed their policy. The move is geared towards attracting tourism income from China, which is responsible for the vast majority of South-East and East Asian gambling.
This casino will be a gambling site, five star hotel and shopping center when completed. The project is being headlined by Caesars, a Las Vegas casino company, and the Hong Kond property developer Lippo Limited. The project is being tentatively valued at $2.2 billion, and a site close to the Incheon International Airport has been selected for construction.
There are already 17 casinos scattered throughout South Korea, but none of them have any foreign investors. With Chinese tourists making up more than a third of the visitors to South Korea ever year, the country’s president is making good on his promise to bolster the nation’s coffers without resorting to increased exports.
An expert on hotel management, Song Hak Jun, believes that this is a very smart move by the Korean government. “?Korea is the optimal location to attract Chinese gamblers. Everyone in Asia is competing to absorb China’s intense tourist demands, and having a casino resort will greatly benefit South Korea.”
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Foreigners Only –
There are 17 casinos operating in South Korea right now, with one reserved for Korean citizens and 16 exclusively catering to foreign gamblers. These casinos attracted more than 5 million gamblers in 2012, with the number set to increase in the coming years. Current projections for the new casino show that it will attract more than 890 billion won in tourism money, while creating 8,000 new jobs from 2014 to 2018.