Grand Korea Leisure finds new site for popular casino

By Charlotte Lee Updated
Grand Korea Leisure finds new site for popular casino

Grand Korea Leisure has identified a site for one of its existing Seven Luck Casinos in South Korea.

The GKL will now call Seoul Dragon City Hotelplex home after its current site was sold.

A new home was needed for its Seven Luck casino at the Millennium Hilton Seoul in Gangbuk after the hotel was sold to real estate fund manager Aegis Asset Management.

That led the casino operator to launch a bidding process to find a new location for the casino.

Bidding began on September 30 and wrapped up on November 10.

The Seoul Dragon City won the bid, according to a filing by GKL with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

The results aren’t surprising, given the hotel was the only one to have made a play for the casino.

GKL relocation could take a year

Grand Korea Leisure and the Seoul Dragon began negotiating the terms of the new partnership on December 3.

In the end, they settled on a 10-year lease that begins on August 16 and runs until August 15, 2032.

While the lease starts in August, it might take longer for everything to be in place.

GKL indicated that it could be January 2023 before the transition is complete.

The new home for the casino seems to be the perfect spot.

It’s only a few kilometres from the Millennium, which will facilitate the relocation.

It has four hotel brands – Grand Mercure, Ibis Styles, Novotel and Novotel Suites, and a total of 1700 rooms.

It has 17 meeting rooms, 11 bars and restaurants, two ballrooms and high-end amenities.

There is a four-level Sky Bridge with a miniature indoor pool, private beach club and skywalk.

Aegis purchased the former home of the casino, which had only opened in 2017, from City Developments for around US$926.5 million.

Once GKL is completely out, the company plans on demolishing the building.

In its place, Aegis envisions a large office tower.

The Seven Luck at Gangbuk only reopened in March after suffering one of several closures because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It, along with GKL’s other foreigner-only casinos, Gangnam in Seoul and Seven Luck Casino Busan Lotte, suspended operations in either late November or early December.

The Busan venue opened in February and both Seoul casinos opened the following month.

South Korean cops bust illegal gambling activity

An illegal gambling website with ties to the Philippines was busted by authorities in November.

South Korean police tracked down a hotel-casino that was used as a base of operations targeting South Korean gamblers.

Some 130 people were taken into custody in South Korea as part of an alleged criminal ring tied to the site.

However, only nine people were arrested, including one individual who reportedly ran the operations.

The website is now dismantled, however, before shutting down the operation had grown quite large, taking in more than $1 billion in wagers in the past two and a half years.

The investigation was overseen by the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency through its international crime investigation unit.

The investigation began in September 2019 after police were tipped off to suspicious activity.

Two years later, police moved in to shut down the operations.

Police uncovered a string of activities that included broadcasting of live sports games from a venue in the Philippines.

This was tied to a sports betting portal run through an unnamed website, with the illegal sportsbook functioning from at least July 2018, if not earlier.

The investigation ultimately linked 150 people. 

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