Korea, Japan and Russia the next gaming hotspots: Soper

Mohegan Sun CEO Bobby Soper says he has high hopes for the gaming market in Northern Asia and, at the moment, believes the greatest opportunity is in South Korea where the tribal gaming operator is building an integrated resort.

Speaking at the MGS Entertainment Summit on Tuesday, the executive pointed towards Northern Asia as the next biggest region in terms of gaming growth potential.

“As markets in Nevada and the US mature, and the new supply in Southern Asia has arguably resulted in a fairly mature landscape here, what is the next global opportunity for material growth in gaming? We believe it is Northern Asia.”

“Looking at geographic opportunity – parts of Russia including Vladivostok where gaming has already been introduced, we believe that Korea and Japan have potentially the greatest opportunity to leverage this proximity.”

While the focus recently has been on the potential legalization of gaming in Japan, Soper says Korea currently presents the best opportunity to tap into the Northern Asian gaming market.

In regards to non-gaming, Soper noted around 25 million people live within a two-hour drive of the Greater Seoul area, which can create ample opportunity for local non-gaming business.

The feature is an important one, as the group’s Inspired Integrated Resort in Incheon will have a strong focus on non-gaming.

As it relates to foreigners, Soper noted around 700 million people live within a 2.5 hour flight of the area, with demographics similar to Macau, “but with far less competition.”

Seoul is also one of the most popular destinations for the Chinese, he said, with three times more visitation than Singapore, along with growth in leisure spending per visitor.

The Inspired Integrated Resort, with over $5 billion invested over 20 years is scheduled to open its first phase by 2020.