Korea IR a rollercoaster, hopes for 2Q23 opening: Soper

Bobby Soper, korea IR

Bobby Soper, international president of Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment says he is hoping to open the Inspire Integrated Resort in South Korea in the second or third quarter of 2023. 

Soper was the former CEO of MGE from 2015 to 2017 and recently returned to the company as president of the international division to handle its Asian expansion efforts. 

In an interview with GLI president James Maida as part of the “Illuminating Conversations” series, Soper commented on some of the challenges and opportunities that have come with MGE’s integrated resort development in South Korea. 

“It’s been a rollercoaster, it had its ups and downs, Covid certainly threw us a curveball. We’re in the ground, we have significant investment in the ground, we need to finalize the final financing. I’ve spent the last two months in Korea pursuing that. 

“My goal is to close that transaction in the very near future, remobilize, get construction going and opening in 2023, hopefully, second quarter, third quarter 2023.”

Soper said the property’s entertainment focus is a tremendous opportunity given the 28 million population of the Greater Seoul area, and he believes that a great deal of traffic will be driven locally. 

“This is really truly the first integrated resort in Incheon. Paradise is MICE focused, and we’re entertainment-focused, that’s who we are, that’s our brand.”

However, Soper said there was still a great opportunity for international gamers as well. 

“Our tax rate is less than half of what it is in Macau so when you bring all these amenities, and you look at the potential from China and Japan, we feel really good about the opportunity from the non-gaming and even the gaming side.”

Speaking about Mohegan’s plans to develop an integrated resort in Nagasaki, it was clear that the interview took place before Nagasaki’s recent announcement that it had chosen Casinos Austria as its IR partner and that Oshidori had pulled out from the bidding process just days before that. 

However, Soper did mention that the vision of the project was to leverage cross-marketing opportunities with resorts in South Korea, as well as achieve better economies of scale for things such as live Western entertainment acts being brought to both properties. 

See our interview with Bobby Soper in April earlier this year.