South Korea

The South Korean government has delayed a decision to approve a huge integrated resort complex on Yeongjong Island, Incheon, local media reports. The bidders on the project included a consortium made up of Caesars Entertainment and the Lippo Group. The Ministry of Culture and Sports called off a Thursday press conference about the resort at the last minute. The government said the delay was due to some procedures needing to be checked with bidders and that a decision will be made next month. 


Fitch Ratings says that Genting Singapore’s proposed joint venture in South Korea with China’s Landing International Development will help to “moderately” diversify its geographic footprint away from Singapore. According to Fitch, the Jeju island integrated resort is likely to account for about 10 percent of Genting Singapore’s total assets.

Genting Singapore and property developer Landing International Development are teaming up to build a $2.2 billion casino resorts on South Korea’s Jeju island. Both firms will jointly own and operate the luxury resort, which will be the biggest on the island to date. The property will be known as Resorts World Jeju and is scheduled to open in 2017.

Paradise Co. said its third-quarter revenue gained 16.7 percent to 162.2 billion won ($149.7 million), driven by a 22 percent increase in casino sales. Its net profit overall fell 5.8 percent to 27.7 billion won. The company said the foreigners’ only casino market rose 14 percent in the third quarter.


The South Korean government has confirmed it plans to ease restrictions making it easier for foreign investors to obtain casino licenses, according to local media. The plan was disclosed at a meeting presided over by President Park Geun-hye on how to boost the tourism industry. However, it will not open the casino market to Korean residents. Up until now, investors were required to have a minimum credit rating of BBB. That will be eased and other factors, such as financial capacity will be considered, the reports said. 


South Korea may reduce barriers to entry for companies developing resort-scale casinos in designated economic development zones, according to media reports. The move follows complaints from investors that the country’s requirement for a BBB credit rating was too stringent. The report follows news that PNC Capital & Investment Bank Group plans a $6.5 billion casino complex resort in an economic free zone in Yeongjong district in Incheon.

Total sales in gambling-related businesses in South Korea, including lotteries, horse racing and cycle racing, slipped to 19.34 trillion won ($18.2 billion) last year, down from 19.54 trillion won the year before, according to government data. 

However, lottery ticket sales rose to a five-year high, reaching 3.2 trillion won last year. That’s up from 3.19 trillion won a year ago. Over the past five years, lottery sales have surged about 35 percent, boosted by online games, which totalled 2.99 trillion won last year.

South Korea’s parliament is considering a law that would put online gaming in the same category as gambling, drugs and alcohol, according to media reports. The legislation, which has upset gaming companies, includes provisions to limit advertising, while a separate bill would take 1% of the gaming industry's revenue to create a fund to curb addiction. The bill has the support of 14 ruling party lawmakers.


Park Chang-Sik, a member of South Korea’s National Assembly, said he will introduce a bill next month entitled, “Special Act to Develop Integrated Resort Industry for the Promotion of Youth Employment and Social Welfare.” 

The bill is designed to allow the opening of more casinos in the country, he told a local newspaper in an interview. The bill will contain a mandatory provision on employee numbers, he said, adding that he thinks three IRs are the ideal number for the South Korean market, with two on the mainland and one on Jeju island.

National Assemblyman Park Chang-Sik of the ruling Saenuri Party has said that he would introduce a bill next month supporting the development of integrated resorts. "I am confident that Integrated Resorts (IR) is the surest way to creating new jobs," said the lawmaker, who is also a member of the National Assembly's Education, Culture, Sports & Tourism Committee.