US casino and hospitality operator Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment seems to have pushed back the opening of its INSPIRE Entertainment Resort in South Korea, according to an investor presentation on the company’s financial performance in the quarter ended September 30, 2020.
Providing development updates on the multi-billion integrated casino resort currently being built near Korea’s Incheon Airport, Mohegan said that it is now slated to swing its doors open in early 2023. The property was previously projected to open in the second half of 2022.
That information emerges several months after Mohegan’s CEO, Mario Kontomerkos, said that their first Asian casino resort was on track to be launched in 2022, despite construction delays caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
There were also recent reports that Mohegan was experiencing difficulties to secure capital to complete the mega-scheme and that there were disagreements between the Connecticut-based casino operator and its Korean development partners as the latter demanded all outstanding funds to be fully paid and further funding to be secured before construction work could resume.
INSPIRE Entertainment Resort is not the only mega-complex planned to be launched in Korea by a big US company. Casino giant Caesars Entertainment Inc. is currently building what would operate as Caesars Korea as part of a larger project called Midan City on Korea’s Yeongjong Island. Caesars was too reported to have faced construction delays and disputes with local partners over the project’s financing.
Mohegan to Close Financing Early 2021
Mohegan said in its recent presentation that it expects to close financing for its Korean project in early 2021. The integrated resort will be built and will open doors in several phases. Its first phase, the one expected to be launched in early 2023, is estimated to cost $1.6 billion.
INSPIRE Entertainment Resort is currently being built on a 1.7-million-square-meter site near Incheon International Airport, the country’s largest airport, the primary airport serving the Seoul area, and one of the busiest travel hubs in the region.
Mohegan expects its resort to attract more than 70 million annual visitors once fully operational thanks to its proximity to and its partnership with the airport.
Phase one of the company’s future Korean resort will include a 5-star hotel with more than 1,200 luxury rooms, suites, and villas, a foreigners-only casino with 700 slot machines and 150 gaming tables, a 15,000-seat entertainment arena, a large meeting and conference venue that will host Seoul’s largest ballroom, retail facilities, food and beverage outlets, and different entertainment offerings.
Mohegan was also selected this year to build and operate a luxury casino resort near Athens, Greece as part of the larger Hellinikon scheme.
The company is also set to soon enter the Las Vegas market as the first tribal operator to run a casino there. Mohegan secured its entry into that market through a partnership with Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, the rebranded and renovated Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. The property was expected to open doors in January 15, 2021, but property officials have pushed back the opening indefinitely due to weak business volumes in Las Vegas stemming from the Covid-19 pandemic.