South Korea has given the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority (MTGA) and KCC Corp. duo the greenlight to build a $5b casino resort at Incheon International Airport.
The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (MCST) on Friday issued a new integrated resort license to Connecticut tribal casino operator Mohegan Sun, which partnered with South Korean chemical maker KCC.
The consortium, called Inspire Integrated Resort plans to break ground early 2017 and must begin operation by 2020. The Phase 1 is estimated at $1.6 billion, with a total of $5 billion over multiple phases. Mohegan Sun will also be joined by Miura Holdings Asia as part of the development team.
The project will feature a three-tower luxury hotel complex with 1,350 five star and six start guest rooms, a Paramount Studios-themed indoor-outdoor amusement park, and a 20,000 square meter casino with 250 gaming tables and 1,500 slot machines.
“We are pleased with the Korean government’s decision to award us the opportunity to help fulfill their vision of driving economic development by growing tourism, creating jobs, and showcasing Korean culture via the integrated resort,” said MTGA President Bobby Soper in a statement.
“We deeply appreciate the careful review that the Korean Government has conducted on this bold new initiative for tourism in Korea. Its selection of the Inspire project at IBC-II is wonderful news for the Incheon region and will serve as a catalyst for growth in the airport development zone for years to come,” added Incheon International Airport Corporation CEO Chung Il-young.
The ministry received 34 requests for concept (RFC) for 9 potential sites but only six bidders went on to submit proposals for the Request for Proposal (RFP) process. Of these six proposals, four were for IRs to be developed in the Incheon area, with one in each of the port cities of Yeosu and Jinhae.
On Wednesday, Yonhap News agency reported that only two bids met the minimum investment requirement of KRW1 trillion ($811.3 million) with a minimum foreign investment component of $500 million but only one license was given out.
During the RFP process, the ministry noted that they could issue up to two new licenses, and Grant Govertsen of Union Gaming believes that the MCST will reserve the right to issue one more license at some point in the future should it see fit.