More than 30 companies compete for licenses in Korea

Kolon Global, Grand Korea Leisure and 32 other companies are competing to win two licenses to build and operate a foreigner-only integrated casino resort, The Korea Times reported.

According to the Times, The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, which issues casino business licenses, is expected to announce this month where it would like foreigner-only casinos to be located, marking the beginning of the full-scale selection process.

Many analysts say the ministry will likely issue one license to one of those seeking to build the integrated resort in Incheon. The other will be selected from companies planning to run a casino and other leisure facilities in areas next to Seoul. The ministry plans to evaluate business plans submitted by 34 candidates over the next five months and draw up a winners’ list in December.

“As we have said before, we will push ahead with the selection process as scheduled to choose two entities by December,” a ministry official was quoted by the Times as saying. 

“We will give them a license to build and run an integrated casino complex.”

The tourism ministry has issued licenses for the construction of two integrated casino resorts on Yeongjongdo Island, Incheon.

LOCZ Korea, a Chinese-U.S. consortium of Lippo and Caesars Entertainment, won approval to open a foreigners-only, casino-driven resort by 2018 in Midan City on Yeongjongdo Island.

Paradise, Korea’s largest operator of foreigner-only casinos, is building the casino complex Paradise City near Incheon International Airport.

There are 16 foreigner-only casinos in Korea, posting combined revenue of 1.37 trillion won ($1.1 billion) in 2013 by attracting 2.7 million foreign gamblers. The revenue expanded in 2014 and is projected to exceed 1.5 trillion won this year, in line with the growing number of inbound tourists.

Kolon Global, a trading arm of Kolon Group, has plans to build a casino in Chuncheon, Gangwon Province, while the National Federation of Fisheries Cooperatives wants to construct a resort in the Noryangjin Fish Market in Seoul.