In an effort to boost the tourism industry of South Korea during 2015, two new large-scale casinos have been planned. According to the Korea Herald, licenses are in the offing and Park Min-gwon — the Deputy Minister of tourism has said that restrictions are going to be lifted so that development of integrated casino resorts can go ahead. Both foreign and local investors will be invited to share in an estimated US $7.9 Billion worth of new investment, and these buildings will be allowed into free economic zones.
The ministries of Finance, Land and Tourism have created this plan in the hopes that as early as 2016, development will have started. It is estimated that each of the new casino resorts will require $925 Million worth of new investment, and the government of South Korea is willing to provide low interest loans. The aim of the game is to have an additional 5,000 hotel rooms available by 2017.
In the meantime, a recent change to the laws of this country has also allowed domestic cruise ships of more than 20,000 tons to have “foreigner-only” casinos. This means that locals are not allowed to partake of these gambling games. This is something that the Las Vegas Sands Corp is concerned about, and despite the fact that they have future plans to invest in the casino industry of South Korea, they have stated they will not invest a cent until the ban on locals entering casinos is lifted. Nonetheless, this government insists that their casinos are for foreign visitors only.
A $1 Billion project has been proposed for Incheon by Chow Tai Fook Enterprises, and currently three large IR joint venture schemes are in the works. Paradise City which is a joint venture between Sega Sammy Holdings and Paradise Group; Caesars Entertainment together with Lippo Group on Yeongjongdo Island, and on Jeju island – Genting Singapore with Landing International Development. To date only one of these JV’s have broken ground, this is the Paradise City project.
Staying in South East Asia, Vietnam also has plans in the pipeline to get casino project up and running. This development is planned for the island of PhuQuoc on the south-east coast, which has recently been recognized as a second-tier urban area by Nguyen Tan Dung – the PM. He has also informed the Ministry of Planning that he is ready to take a look at approving new casino regulations.