A top executive with casino giant Las Vegas Sands says the company is interested in building in South Korea if the country moderates its prohibition on domestic access.
The government of Asia’s fourth-largest economy is easing investment requirements to boost tourism and attract investment, and George Tanasijevich, the managing director of global development for LVS, said, “We think it is a top development opportunity for our industry, for our company, and we are very eager to find an opportunity to contribute in Korea in an appropriate manner.”
Tanasijevich said the company has recently proposed to the Seoul government construction of “a truly iconic building” in the affluent suburb of Jamsil, the site of the 1988 Olympic Games main stadium and the 123-story Lotte World Tower currently under construction.
“What we are looking for is a location that can support our business model,” said Tanasijevich, who also is chief executive of LVS’ Marina Bay Sands, the $5 billion Singapore mega-resort that emerging Asian casino markets are looking to as their model.
South Korea is not one of those, as it is already home to 17 casinos, a market good for US$2.7 billion in revenue last year. But only one, Kangwon Land in the remote northeast of the country, is open to Korean nationals.
Tanasijevich said that would have to change for LVS to invest.
“A casino that allows local residents would be a necessary element for our business model, in the scale of the investment that we are proposing to make and the magnitude of the property that we would look to develop in the market,” he said, without elaborating on the details of the investment proposal.