South Korea Officials Reveal 34 Bidders for Casino Licenses

The South Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism revealed that there are 34 bidders for the two casino licenses that are to be issued for the operation of two foreigner-only integrated resorts within the country’s borders.

South Korea officials are expected to announce later in August where one of the hotel and casino properties is to be located. This would mark the beginning of the selection process. Analysts believe that one of the venues will be built in Seoul or somewhere near the country’s capital. As for the other integrated resort it is likely to be located in Incheon. The city is known for the Incheon International Airport, the biggest one in South Korea.

Casino operators and experts have repeatedly pointed out that a gambling venue located somewhere near the airport is likely to turn out to be a profitable one as it is to attract more Chinese high rollers as well as wealthy visitors from other Asian countries.

The Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism will consider all 34 bidders and is expected to announce its decision on which two of them are to be granted the casino licenses in December 2015.

Two such licenses have already been issued by the ministry. The integrated resorts will be located on the Yeongjongdo Island and Incheon. LOCZ Korea, a consortium between Chinese real estate developer Lippo Group and Las Vegas-based casino operator Caesars Entertainment, is to run the Yeongjongdo Island property. It is expected to open doors by 2018.

As for the Incheon integrated resort, it is to be managed by Paradise, known to be South Korea’s largest operator of gambling facilities. The venue will located not far from the city airport.

Currently, there are 16 foreigner-only gambling properties across the country. In 2013, those generated overall revenue of KRW1.37 trillion and attracted more than 2.7 million international visitors. Gaming revenue grew even further in 2014 and is expected to reach the amount of KRW1.5 million by the end of this year. In addition, the number of tourists has also been constantly growing.

The South Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism said that it expects the two new integrated resorts to lure more Chinese high rollers and other foreign visitors as those in Singapore and Macau did when they were launched.

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