Genting Singapore plans to build a resort casino on South Korea’s Jeju Island. The 50-50 joint venture with an Anhui-based, Hong Kong-listed property company called Landing International Development will target visitors from China, the feeder market for what is growing into the island’s largest contingent of foreign tourists.
“Eastern and Northern China is very close to Jeju Island, and it’s about a one-hour flight, which makes so much more sense for people in Beijing, Shanghai or Qingdao to come to Jeju Island than going to Macau,” said Landing International Chairman Yang Zhi Hui.
About 4.3 million Chinese tourists visited South Korea in 2013, an increase of 53 percent over the year before, and they now account for one-third of the country’s total, according to the Korea Tourism Organization.
Plans for the 2.3 million square meters call for a phased development that ultimately will include a theme park, a shopping mall, luxury residences and three hotels totaling 2,800 rooms. The casino, restricted by Korean law to foreign passport holders, will contain 800 table games, 200 of them VIP, at full build-out.
Total cost is pegged at US$2.2 billion, but investment analysts Union Gaming Research Macau dismiss that as a “blue-sky scenario” and estimate an initial outlay by Genting of about $153 million as part of a two-phased development in which the company’s commitment will increase to $250 million in line with a Korean investment requirement of $500 million to qualify for licensing. The firm believes the gaming portion could feature up to 100 tables and the hotel “a few hundred” rooms and projects a 2017 opening for the first phase, with the second coming on line in 2019.