Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment’s (MGE) early 2022 timeline to complete development of the first phase of its luxury integrated resort in Incheon, South Korea is on track.
Even amid the COVID-19 pandemic that has led to market-wide closures of casinos in South Korea, and across the Asia-Pacific region, and taking potential delays in construction into account, MGE CEO Mario Kontomerkos sounds confident that phase one development remains on target.
Kontomerkos told GGRAsia: “Work continues and we are working toward our 2022 goal.”
Inspire’s $1.3 billion phase one (of its total $5 billion Inspire project) will see 1,250 hotel rooms, a 15,000-seat entertainment venue, 40 food and beverage outlets, plus a foreigner-only casino featuring 160 table games and 700 slot machines.
The luxury integrated resort will be located in Incheon, home to the sleek and innovative Incheon International Airport. A vital transportation hub beyond the airport, Incheon is situated near the capital Seoul.
MGE is forecasted to spend an estimated $1.3 billion on phase one resort development to debut in 2022. Construction on phase two, featuring a Paramount Pictures-branded indoor theme park, is scheduled to begin in 2021 with a completion timeline of 2025. Cost of the second phase expansion is expected to exceed $1 billion.
Overall, the $5 billion Inspire integrated resort will be developed in four phases, with the final segment due to be completed by 2031.
In December, MGE announced its partnership with Korea-based Hanwha Corp, one of the country’s largest conglomerates, to serve as Project Inspire Resort’s primary general contractor and serve as its local expertise.
As of December, Hanwha Corporation had injected $100 million worth into the project. The Korean partners will also manage non-gaming operations property-wide — including the hotel, resort, as well as marketing and human resources. (Other methods of financing include a $300 million cash investment from Mohegan itself, $900 million from a consortium of “blue chip” Korean institutions, $200 million worth of infrastructure and improvements by Incheon International Airport Corp, and another $200 million acquired through loans.)
Aside from its Incheon project, MGE is still pursuing integrated resorts in Japan and Athens.
MGE announced last year that it was targeting the Hokkaido prefecture as a possible preferred location for its IR. But given the Hokkaido prefecture’s recently removal of its bid to secure one of Japan’s three casino licenses, citing environmental concerns, MGE is now willing to broaden its scope of potential locations.
As Kontomerkos recently told GGRAsia: “While we are unable to confirm specific regional locations, Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment is a company that specializes in large-scale master-planned resort development in global destination markets, including a new, world-class integrated entertainment resort… located at one of the busiest airport hubs in Northern Asia.”
MGE went as far as to open a new office in Tomakomai, a city on the Japanese island of Hokkaido, in October. The plan was to build a homebase to act as a showroom for its proposed $3.5 billion-$4.5 billion Integrated Resort in the city of Tomakomai, a winter resort destination in Hokkaido.
In the race for a license to develop an IR at the Greek capital last year, MGE successfully moved onto the next stage of the selection process carried out by the Hellenic Gaming Commission.
MGE’s proposed two-tower design is modeled to resemble the Caryatids, the female statues that support the Parthenon, the ancient temple atop Athens’ Acropolis.
Mohegan’s proposal calls for a luxury hotel, sprawling resort pools, entertainment venues, a convention center and retail, dining and a large gaming floor with 1,200 slot machines and 120 table games.
“It’s the No. 1 project for the government of Greece,” Kontomerkos said last year, alluding to the fact that Athens accounts for more than a third of the Greek economy. “You change the trajectory of the city, you change the trajectory of the country.”