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South Korea – South Korea issues two more resort casino licences

By - 19 January 2015

South Korea is to issue two more licences for foreigner-only casino resorts as it looks to bring in an extra 5,000 new hotel rooms and boost tourism investment by around US$3.25bn.

The government said it will lift restrictions placed on integrated resorts, which currently limit foreign ownership in such projects to 51 per cent.

Park Min-gwon, Deputy Minister for the Tourism Ministry said: “Limits imposed on the building of new resorts with casinos will be lifted so they can be built even inside free economic zones by both local and foreign investors.”

This could result in major business groups such as Samsung and Hyundai investing in casino projects under fair competition.

Building work will get underway next year once the operators during the latter half of this year. The aim is for them to be opened in 2020.

Standard Chartered Equity Research believes the South Korean government will issue a further three more licences in addition to the two already announced.

US operator Caesars Entertainment and Hong Kong-listed Lippo have already had their joint project approved as have Paradise and Japan’s Sega Sammy Holdings. A consortium involving Genting Singapore and Landing International Development meanwhile want to build a US$2.2bn integrated resort project on the island of Jeju.

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