Mohegan Sun eyes $5 billion resort project in S. Korea: Yonhap interview

The president of Mohegan Sun, a U.S. regional tribal casino operator, said South Korea’s main gateway provides the perfect chance to build its first integrated resort outside North America to target the expanding Asian gaming market, Yonhap News Agency reported.

Mohegan Sun has submitted a $5 billion bid to build an integrated resort with a foreigner-only casino on Yeongjong Island, a transportation hub located west of Seoul. The South Korean government is set to hand out two more casino licenses within this year to attract investment and boost tourism.

The Connecticut-based casino and resort operator is among 34 local and international companies vying for the deal in hopes of using Korea’s geographical proximity to lure deep-pocketed Chinese rollers.

“While we have previously looked at various development opportunities outside of North America, this is the first opportunity we felt compelling enough to pursue,” Bobby Soper, the president of Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority, said in a written interview with Yonhap News Agency.

Yeongjong Island spanning some 70 square kilometers is located less than an hour by express subway from Seoul, and for northern Chinese cities, it is closer than Macau, a gambling paradise.

It is widely believed that Yeongjong is sure to have at least one resort, while it is yet to be known whether it can have another in addition to the two casino complexes to be built in the coming years.

Soper said the island has great potential to become a major tourism attraction in Asia once world-class resorts are built in the area to encourage passengers to stay there and have fun.

“It is not only convenient to what will arguably be the largest airport passenger terminal in the world, (and) it is also expandable in several phases that will take full advantage” of developable land and other scenic areas, he said.