Soper: Market is “underpenetrated”
The president of Connecticut’s Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority, which just applied for a casino license in South Korea, says the location is great and the market ripe for development. The planned casino resort is the tribe’s first venture outside the United States.
In an interview with GGRAsia, Bobby Soper said “We’ve teamed up with the Incheon International Airport authority for an incredible parcel of land, adjacent to their new terminal, and we believe that our integrated resort vision fits well with what the airport is trying to achieve with its own master plan. We believe that Asia, specifically Korea, is a great opportunity. It’s a market that is really underpenetrated.”
The publication reported that Mohegan Sun’s bid is just one of 34 proposals from local and international companies that want to break into South Korea. In January, the government indicated it may approve two more licenses to help boost tourism. Winning bidders would be expected to invest at least KRW1 trillion (US$891.2 million) per project, according to reports.
Incheon’s airport, known as the gateway to the capital of Seoul, is one of the largest airport hubs in Asia, recording more than 45.5 million passenger trips in 2014. In the first six months of 2015, the airport served 24.3 million passengers, up by 12.7 percent year-on-year.
Soper said the tribal authority’s partnership with Incheon International Airport Corp. “brings together the experience of world-class development and hands-on operations from both East and West in the pursuit of an integrated resort license” from the South Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.
The so-called Inspire project includes a private air terminal to serve high rollers. “Not only can you charter planes, but you can fly the plane to the doorstep of our integrated resort, which we believe will be a huge opportunity as it is a differentiator especially on the high-end segment,” said Soper.
The resort complex would also include a 20,000-square meter (215,000-square-foot) casino with 250 gaming tables, including 40 VIP tables and 1,500 slot machines. The plan also features two hotel towers with 1,000 rooms, a 20,000-seat arena, and more than 18,500 square meters of retail, restaurants and other attractions. Phase I of the development is expected to cost US$1.6 billion, “with a commitment to spend a total of US$5 billion over the next 20 years,” Soper told GGRAsia.