Last month, South Korea’s Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism selected nine sites eligible for foreigners-only integrated resorts. The ministry will now conduct an RFP process for each site. A previous non-binding RFP process had attracted 34 proposals across 10 distinct regions throughout Korea. One of those regions is Incheon, for which there were 16 different RFP proposals for six sites.
Six of the nine sites that have now been short-listed are within Incheon, one is in Busan, with one site each in the southeast province of Gyeongnam and the southwest province of Jeonnam.
The RFP process has specifically excluded Jeju because Jeju is a self-governing province and will conduct its own RFP.
The successful applicants must complete their projects within four years of the RFP. RFPs are due by November, and the government will begin its RFP review in December and ultimately intends to issue two new IR licenses.
Union Gaming Group analyst Grant Govertson says these could be the final licenses available in Korea, not including Jeju.
“We believe these will likely be the final IR licenses to be awarded for the foreseeable future in Korea,” he wrote in a note to investors.
There was no indication in this announcement that the government was considering allowing Korean citizens to gamble in these IRs.