Operator talk: Mohegan aims for success in ‘dynamic’ Korea

Operator talk: Mohegan aims for success in ‘dynamic’ Korea

Tuesday, July 28, 2015 Totally Gaming
The Inspire resort would have its own private jet terminal

South Korea’s push towards tourism and diversification is a driving force behind Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority’s (MTGA) plans to develop its Inspire casino and entertainment project in the country.

The US tribal company has already signed an agreement with Incheon International Airport Corporation (IIAC) to work in tandem on a unique $1.6bn (€1.45bn) ‘airport city’ project that could attract some 20 million tourists per year by 2020.

An MTGA spokesperson told TotallyGaming.com that the cultural and industrial changes taking place in Korea make it an ideal investment opportunity, and the company is hopeful of being awarded one of the two new gaming licences that have been offered by the government.

“The Korea success story is recognised worldwide and demonstrates the breadth and depth of economic and societal development that is possible with a coordinated, visionary, and decisive government and a population with a spirit to grow,” said the spokesman for MTGA, which runs the Resorts Casino Hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

“Korea recognises that reaching the next level of competitiveness requires a shift from manufacturing and industry towards the high value added foundation of a service-based knowledge economy. The country is working towards these goals by enhancing tourism and cultural development while driving economic diversification.

“MTGA, which has regional influence much like Korea, is also shifting its focus to diversification to reach its next phase of growth as a global, industry leader.”

MTGA’s ambitions in the country were highlighted earlier this year when its president, Bobby Soper, said he wanted Inspire to become a “must-visit destination” and added that MTGA wants “to play a meaningful role in contributing to Korea’s dynamic economy”.

There will be a fierce battle for the new licenses, with at least 10 companies, including Bloomberry Resorts, having submitted proposals by the June 30 deadline. While the new integrated resorts (IRs) will only offer gambling to foreign customers, some 420 million people live within a three-hour flight, and Chinese tourist arrivals to Korea grew 42 per cent last year to 6.1 million.

Inspire would certainly be an attractive prospect, as the only IR in the world to have its own private jet terminal. The Inspire resort would also feature a luxury hotel complex with 1,000 rooms, an 18,500sq m casino, retail, entertainment space, a 20,000-capacity entertainment arena and a theme park.

While clearly determined to be successful in Korea, MTGA, which is also about to begin construction on a new casino in Washington state, is also excited about other prospects in the US and around the world.

“We are extremely focused on Inspire at the moment and believe it represents a highly compelling opportunity,” the spokesman said. “We regularly evaluate opportunities to expand the strong Mohegan brand as we continue to execute on our capital light growth strategy and diversification to drive additional revenue streams.

“We will continue to pursue new and profitable revenue streams while maintaining financial discipline and the excellent guest service, product and hospitality experience that has made Mohegan Sun a premier, world-class gaming operator.”

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