Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment’s (MGE) first investment outside North America remains on schedule, as its casino resort in Incheon, South Korea is targeting a 2022 opening.
The gaming unit of the Mohegan Tribe in Connecticut responded to GGRAsia as to whether the COVID-19 pandemic has delayed construction of the casino complex adjacent to Incheon International Airport. Company officials said the multibillion-dollar property remains on pace to meet its goal of commencing operations in 2022.
MGE owns and/or operates Mohegan Sun in Connecticut, Mohegan Sun Pocono in Pennsylvania, Atlantic City’s Resort Casino Hotel, Ilani in Washington state, Louisiana’s Paragon Casino Resort, and Casino Niagara and Fallsview Casino in Canada.
All of those properties are presently closed by the coronavirus health crisis. However, Mohegan officials say the great revenue loss, paired with plummeting economies around the globe, isn’t hampering the company’s enthusiasm in moving forward in South Korea.
Incheon International is the primary airport that serves nearby Seoul.
Along with its project in East Asia, Mohegan Gaming is doubling down on its foray into investing outside of North America.
In January, MGE beat out Hard Rock International, another company owned by Native Americans (Seminole Tribe of Florida), to build a casino resort on the grounds of the former Hellenikon International Airport in Athens, Greece. Mohegan has partnered with Greek developer Gek Terna for the project that’s being called Inspire Athens.
MGE is using the “Inspire” brand in Incheon. Inspire Entertainment Resort will feature 1,250 hotel rooms, an indoor and outdoor shopping complex, more than 40 restaurants, a waterpark, a golf course, a 15,000-seat theater, nearly 120,000 square feet of convention space, and a casino floor with 1,500 slot machines and 250 table games.
The casino will be accessible only to foreigners, as is the case with all casinos in South Korea, the lone exception being Kangwon Land.
Koreas and Coronavirus
Jeju Island, located off the southern end of the Korean Peninsula, has allowed gaming operations to resume after the coronavirus has been deemed adequately contained.
The two largest casinos – Shinhwa World and Paradise Casino – are both back up and running. Virus preventative measures remain in place, such as social distancing and increased sanitization of gaming areas.
Casinos elsewhere in the country remain temporarily closed. Kangwon Land has been closed since February 3, and will remain shuttered until at least April 20.
South Korea has confirmed 10,537 COVID-19 cases, and says the disease is responsible for 217 deaths. Its isolated neighbor to the north – North Korea – says it has zero infections, a claim most health experts strongly reject.
“Despite the regime’s denials, North Korea almost certainly has cases of coronavirus, given its location between China, where the pandemic originated and where there have been over 82,000 confirmed cases (and from where a robust flow of traders and smugglers operate along the border with North Korea), and South Korea, with over 10,000 confirmed cases,” said Brookings writer Jung Park.