Representatives of international casino operator Las Vegas Sands were seen gallivanting around South Korea’s port city of Busan not for pleasure, but to scout for a possible location for Sheldon Adelson’s new integrated resort, reported the Korea Economic Daily.
According to the report, “key members” of Adelson’s Sands Group made their way to Busan North Port last June 8 to take “a look around the land for establishment of the entertainment resort.” Adelson’s men also reportedly met with the Busan city government to talk “investment strategy.”
The Las Vegas-based casino operator has been eyeing South Korea as its next location for an integrated resort.
Back in March, Las Vegas Sands said it will continue promoting its plans to build a $10 billion casino resort in the country. Now, it appears the U.S. casino operator has found a location for its “large-size” casino resort. Sands, however, may be in for some challenges because it wants to let the locals allowed inside the casino doors.
There are 17 casino operating in South Korea at the moment, but Koreans are only allowed to gamble at one location—the Kangwon Land in the upland area of Kangwon province.
Korea’s Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (MCST) awarded the country’s latest integrated resort license to Connecticut tribal casino operator Mohegan Sun, which plans to open a $5 billion resort near the Incheon International Airport.
Sands, on the other hand, had been snubbed by the Korean government because Adelson’s team’s plan required legal gambling for locals. George Tanasijevich, managing director of global development for Las Vegas Sands, pointed out the model doesn’t call for an “open” casino, but a restricted-only casino where locals have to pay levies and be subject to restrictions to enter the casino.
In Singapore—where Sands operates the Marina Bay Sands—citizens and permanent residents must pay either SGD100 (US$73.50) for 24-hour casino access, or SGD2,000 for a year’s entry. The state government, however, is content to let foreigners in the casino for free.