New casino resort to open near South Korean airport
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Paradise-Sega Sammy signed an agreement with Incheon International Airport on Friday for the construction of a multifunctional resort.
Paradise-Sega Sammy signed an agreement with Incheon International Airport on Friday for the construction of a multifunctional resort, including a foreigner-only casino, on Yeongjong Island, some 50 kilometers west of Seoul and home to the county’s biggest airport.
Paradise-Sega Sammy is a joint venture established by Korea’s Paradise Group and Japan’s Sega Sammy Holdings.
Under the agreement, Paradise-Sega Sammy will make an investment of us$ 588 million to build the integrated resort that has two five-star hotels, a convention center, a concert hall, an indoor theme park, a shopping mall and a casino by 2018. The hotels and shopping mall will be available from 2016, the company said. “This project will create more than 10,000 new jobs and contribute hugely to the nation’s economy,” said Paradise-Sega Sammy President Choi Jong-hwan.
This is the first investment agreement of this kind after the government dropped its “no-more casinos” policy earlier this year amid the prolonged economic slump. It was to reinvigorate the domestic economy with new investments and in line with this tourism authorities recently unveiled a set of plans making it easier for foreign capital ventures to run casinos in the country’s free economic zones.
Korea has maintained what critics say are “notoriously” strict rules on casino approval in fear that more of them could increase gambling addiction and escalate associated criminal activities.
There are 17 casinos in Korea with 16 open only to foreigners; Kangwon Land in Jeongseon, Gangwon Province, is the only one that allows Koreans to enter.
The government’s softened stance has succeeded in attracting the attention of foreign investors. Currently, two other firms, Universal Entertainment of Japan and Caesars Entertainment of the United States, are engaged in last-minute talks with the government over a casino on Yeongjong Island.
State officials said Universal Entertainment has already invested us$ 110 million and will additionally run an integrated resort starting 2015. It will invest us$ 2.38 billion additionally to build a casino and hotel by 2017. Caesars Entertainment will spend us$ 750 million by 2015 during the first phase of investment on the island.