Seoul has just approved plans to allow investors to allow a Chinese developer agreed to purchase land on the manmade island of Yeongjong for $80 million to be used for a $4.2 billion development. The resort and casino on the island which will serve foreigners, is believed to be specifically targeted at Chinese tourists looking for an alternative to the expensive Macau. LongRunn International Group is an investor and developer of landmark real estate developments and infrastructural and environmental projects in Asia, and have reportedly sealed a deal to build a 76,000sq meter multi-resort complex.
The island is home to the Incheon International Airport and the Incheon Bridge connects the island to the mainland and provides direct access between Songdo and Incheon International Airport. The plans for this development which will be named‘Diamond City,’ include a casino, 7- star hotel as well as schools and malls. The developers also intend to build theme parks and the intention is to compete with the established gambling meccas of Macau and Las Vegas.
The Yeongjong casino will offer Chinese gamblers visiting Korea new luxury amenities like restaurants, spas, shows and the ability to host large groups which may draw new tourism to the island.
How will the plans effect the Asian Gaming Industry?
South Korea has much lower revenues that other Asian gambling spots. For example, in 2013 South Korea’s revenue from gaming was $2.7 billion whereas Macau raked in $45 billion. With this move to expand and improve the industry in Yeongjong, the hope is that South Korea will enjoy an influx of new tourist and an increased revenue to show for it. They offer much lower minimum bets in their V.I.P rooms that in Macau, which has led many Chinese tourists who are less affluent that the very rich spenders, to flock there instead and with better facilities, the government hopes they will come in their droves.
What are the possible problems South Korea may face?
One issue that South Korea may come up against, is that many other countries have started to catch on to a new wave of gambling development. China has already made huge plans for Hainan to become a new centre for gambling there, even relaxing laws to do so. Vietnam and the Philippines have also been following suit and have been building their own resorts which are likely to be much cheaper than those in South Korea. In Japan, there have been moves to legalize casinos with the Tokyo Olympics looming and prices are coming down for family entertainment in places like Macau.
So, it seems they will be up against fierce competition as many countries begin the scramble to fight for the massive financial gains to be had from a booming gambling tourist industry. It remains to be seen how South Korea will fare but the prospects look good, with companies like Caesars Entertainment Corp already having plans approved for their first new casinos. To get a taste of casino life, check out Dream Jackpot.