SEOUL, Korea, Mar 20 (Korea Bizwire) – By 2018, an entertainment complex with a casino in it will be open on Yeongjong Island, which is located about 50 kilometers west of Seoul. This will be the centerpiece of Korea’s effort to attract the “youke” (Chinese tourists) based on geographical proximity.
On March 18, the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism granted a preliminary casino license to LOCZ Korea, a Chinese-U.S. consortium of Lippo Ltd. and Caesars Entertainment Corp. to build a gambling resort on the island. Earlier in June last year, the venture had been given an “unfit” judgment based on its credit rating, investment scale, fund sources, and any other disqualification grounds. This time around, LOCZ Korea applied for the license again after improving its financial standing.
According to the plans, a 159,000-square-meter resort will host a foreigner-only casino, hotels, a shopping mall, and a convention center by 2018 at the cost of 744 million won at Midan City near Incheon International Airport in the island. The casino will be built on a 7,700-square-meter site, which is bigger than any other existing foreigner-only casinos.
As the preliminary license was issued, the next task is how to make the new gambling venue look more attractive than, say, Macau to the eye of the Chinese gamblers and tourists. If they spend time exclusively at the casinos and go back home without venturing out, there would be little benefit to the local economy.
An official at the Incheon Metropolitan City Government said, “Since the popular drama My Love from the Star was filmed in Incheon, more Chinese tourists have visited the city. We will come up with a variety of ideas like this to make the tourists walk out of the resort and spend more in our city.”