The rejection of Caesars Entertainment as a casino developer last year has harmed South Korea in ways the officials never realized. In anticipation of a change in attitude, last month Malaysia’s Genting Singapore Plc, Southeast Asia’s largest casino operator by market value, announced it has partnered with Chinese property company Landing International Development Ltd. to develop a .2 billion property on Jeju island.
The project will include luxury hotels, retail, a theme park, villas and condos, as well as gaming entertainment and other leisure and entertainment facilities. The project will encompass 230 hectares of land and will be a 50-50 joint venture between Genting and Landing.
Determined to attract international investors to its tourism industry, the government of South Korea says it will ease the rules governing how casino licenses are issued.
Prospective foreign investors in casinos have been required to have credit ratings of higher than BBB, but that is set to change.
“We will ease the restrictions,” said an official from the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism. “Even if bidders cannot meet the conditions, they can be licensed in case they stand out in other areas like financial capacity.”
Yang Zhihui, chairman of Landing, said the resort would target Chinese gamblers far away from the country’s preferred gambling destination, Macau.
“Eastern and Northern China is very close to Jeju Island and it’s roughly 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,” Yang said.