In an interview with the Korea Economic Daily, George Tanasijevich, managing director of global development for Las Vegas Sands Corp., confirmed that Sands Group is still eyeing South Korea’s port city of Busan as the location for its $10 billion integrated resort.
“The best location for Sands Group to invest in is Busan. We are willing to move in as soon as investment conditions are met,” Tanasijevich told the South Korean news outlet, pointing out that Busan “has an unlimited growth potential” due to its location between Japan and China although the country is “suffering in obscurity due to lack of enough five-star hotels and exhibition and conventions areas.”
Back in June, “key members” of casino operator Las Vegas Sands reportedly made their way to Busan North Port to have “a look around the land for establishment of the entertainment resort,” and also met with the Busan city government to talk “investment strategy.”
The casino operator, however, may be in for some challenges since it wants to let the locals inside the casino doors. South Korea has a total of 17 casino in operation, but Koreans are only allowed to gamble at one location—the Kangwon Land in the upland area of Kangwon province.
Sands has also been snubbed by the Korean government because of the said plan, which requires legal gambling for locals. Still, Tanasijevich believes Sands’ plan will benefit the Asian country, both in tourism and employment fronts.
“If Busan really aims to become an international tourism city, we can do so by enlisting investors, just like Singapore that raised its profile as a premier tourist destination by increasing foreign tourist numbers from 9.2 million in 2009 to 15 million in 2015 and creating 46,000 jobs in the process,” said Tanasijevich, who also serves as chief executive of Marina Bay sands Pte. Ltd.