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Korea green lights nine resort sites: Union Gaming

Korea's Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has selected 9 foreigners-only integrated resort sites for which the ministry will now conduct a request for proposal, according to Union Gaming analysts.

The RFC process had attracted 34 separate proposals across 10 distinct geographies throughout Korea. 

One of those geographies is Incheon, for which there were 16 different RFC proposals across 6 sites. Of the 9 sites that have now been short-listed, six are within Incheon, one is in Busan, and one site in each of the southeast province of Gyeongnam and the southwest province of Jeonnam.  

The criteria for an IR within the RFP include a minimum investment of KRW1,000 billion ($850 million), a minimum foreign investment component of $500 million; the casino floor must be 5 percent or less of total GFA; and must have at least 1,000 5-star hotel rooms.

“The government will begin its RFP review in December and ultimately intends to issue two new IR licenses. We believe these will likely be the final IR licenses to be awarded for the foreseeable future in Korea (ex-Jeju). Given our view that Incheon is the preferred national IR area, we would expect both new IRs to be issued for this area,” Union Gaming wrote in a note.

“This in turn would bring the total number of IRs to four in Incheon, which includes two IRs already under construction: 1) Paradise / SegaSammy, and 2) Caesars / Lippo. Ultimately, we believe the only other IRs in Korea will be located in Jeju, of which Genting Singapore is already moving forward with its Resorts World Jeju project. We would also expect the government of Jeju to issue up to two additional IR licenses for a total of up to three IRs in Jeju.” 


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