Mohegan Gaming Receives Approval for Incheon Casino Resort

Saturday, May 11th, 2019 | Written by April Bergman
Mohegan Gaming Receives Approval for Incheon Casino Resort

Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment received approval for its South Korean casino plan. Mohegan Sun Incheon’s opening date is sometime in 2022. The Incheon casino will be located 27 kilometers (17 miles) from the nation’s capital of Seoul.

CEO Mario Kontomerkos announced the news that Mohegan Gaming already began development on the Incheon casino, which cleared regulatory procedures recently.

Kontomerkos told GGRAsia, “We have begun to mobilise construction at our development site in Incheon, South Korea, having completed our negotiations with our general contractor and following the receipt of all necessary construction permits and approvals.”

Mohegan Sun plans to open their casino in two phases. The hotel and resort open in the first phase in 2021. The next year, the casino operation plans its grand opening.

Jeju Island Casino Industry

South Korea’s approval is based partly on the launch of a casino industry in Japan. Gaming analysts expect the Japanese integrated resort industry to launch in 2024.

Most of South Korea’s casinos sit on Jeju Island, which sits in the Korea Strait off the coast of South Jeolla Province. The South Korean casion industry welcomes foreign tourists, but bars residents from play. Jeju Island allows the country to keep the gaming industry separated from the population, but Incheon will be within a short ride of 40% of the nation’s population.

Emerging Incheon Casino Hub

Part of South Korean officials’ plans is to lure major international gambling operators and create an Incheon Strip. Caesars Entertainment agreed on a $700 million casino last year, though final approval is forthcoming.

The obvious clientele is the Chinese gambling sector from the North China, Northeast China, and East China regions. Those three regions contain about 650 million people, or just over half of China’s population.

Paradise City Casino

Paradise Co. opened Paradise City Casino, an integrated casino resort also located in Incheon. Phase 1 of the project opened in September 2018. The resort includes a boutique hotel, the largest nightclub in Northeast Asia, a plaza with world-famous retail stores, an “East meets West” spa resort, and an art museum.

Paradise Co. partnered with Japan’s Sega Sammy to build the K-style resort, which bills itself as the only operation of its sort in Northeast Asia. It won’t be for long.

Caesars Incheon Casino

Caesars Entertainment’s $700 million casino-resort will cost only one-half what Paradise City cost to build. What it brings is a brand known throughout the world, complete with faux Roman architecture and statues.

Caesars president of international development Steven Tight said of the development, which plans a 2021 opening, “Since Caesars new IR will be the first and only internationally branded integrated resort in the region, its debut will add a differentiated IR option.”

Once again, that statement won’t be accurate for long. Mohegan Sun Incheon opens a year later, so the Las Vegas Strip rivals also will compete on the Incheon Strip.

About Mohegan Gaming

Mohegan Gaming is the casino company owned by the Mohegan Tribe of Connecticut. The tribe is best known for the Mohegan Sun located in Uncasville, Connecticut. At one time, Mohegan Sun was the largest casino in the world. It’s still one of the largest, though Mohegan Gaming has focused on expansion of its business outside Connecticut in the past 10 years.

Mohegan Gaming also owns Mohegan Sun Pocono in Pennsylvia, while man aging famous casinos on behalf of other ownership groups. For instance, Mohegan Sun manages Resorts Casino in Atlantic City. Resorts Casino is owned by Morris Bailey, a real estate developer with no experience in the gaming business prior to buying Resorts Casino.

When Bailey’s partner (who knew the casino business) died in 2012, he contracted Mohegan Sun to handle day-to-day operations. It’s been a tremendous success for both parties, and led Mohegan Gaming to seek out other opportunities.