Mohegan pushes on with South Korea IR

By Noah Taylor Updated
Incheon casino project gathers momentum 

US casino resort operator Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment is on track to complete a multi-billion dollar integrated resort project in Incheon, South Korea by early 2022, despite disruptions caused by the unprecedented health crisis that has gripped the world.

Casino News Daily reports that Mohegan Gaming chief executive Mario Kontomerkos said that “work continues and we are working toward our 2022 goal.”

Mohegan Gaming’s South Korea project, known as Inspire Entertainment Resort, involves the construction of a luxury integrated resort with a casino in Incheon, a city located near the capital Seoul that has long been an important transportation hub as it hosts the massive and ultramodern Incheon International Airport.

Mohegan Gaming’s property is set to be developed in several phases, the first of which is slated to be completed and unveiled by 2022.

Phase one of the mega-scheme will include 1,250 hotel rooms, a foreigner-only casino with 700 slot machines and 160 table games, a 15,000-seat entertainment venue, and 40 dining outlets, among other facilities.

According to a previous report by local news outlet Korea Times, the Inspire integrated resort is set to be developed in four phases, with the final one due to be completed by 2031.

The same report by Korea Times claimed that Mohegan Gaming has earmarked some $5 billion for the development of its integrated resort in South Korea over four phases.

It is believed that the company is planning to spend around $1.3 billion on phase one.

Construction on the second phase of the scheme is set to begin in 2021, according to Korea Times.

That phase, too, is set to cost more than $1 billion to the hotel and casino operator.

It will include the addition of a Paramount Pictures-branded indoor theme park that will be “unlike any other in Asia.”

Phase two of the Inspire project is slated to be completed by 2025.

Mohegan Gaming announced late last year that it had appointed major South Korean conglomerate Hanwha Corp as the main contractor for the project.

In addition, the two companies had signed a multi-year agreement that would see Hanwha manage non-gaming amenities at Inspire, including hotel and resort operations as well as marketing and HR.

Aside from its South Korea project, Mohegan Gaming has introduced another Inspire concept in recent years, with the second one being Inspire Athens.

The US casino operator entered the race for a licence for the development of a casino resort near the Greek capital last year.

Mohegan Gaming was the only candidate that was allowed to move onto the next stage of the selection process carried out by the Hellenic Gaming Commission.

Inspire Athens would include a casino with 1,200 slot machines and 120 table games, a luxury hotel, entertainment venues, a convention centre, retail space, dining outlets, sprawling resort pools and a comprehensive mix of premium amenities.

Mohegan wins coveted Greek casino licence

US-based Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment and Greek construction company GEK TERNA have been granted the initial right to develop a casino resort within the former Hellinikon International Airport in Athens.

Neos Kosmos reported in January the Hellenic Gaming Commission awarded the casino-operating licence to the Mohegan consortium ahead of the bid for another tribal gaming organisation, Hard Rock International, which is owned by the Seminole tribe in Florida.

The proposed resort, which will be known as Inspire Athens will feature a luxury hotel, several entertainment venues, a convention centre, shops, restaurants and a casino.

It is estimated that the gaming space will require 120 table games and 1,200 slot machines. reported that Hard Rock International had submitted a $1.1 billion project proposal, however, Mohegan and GEK TERNA did not unveil their investment cost for the project.

Hard Rock International had 10 days to object to the decision or to bring the matter before the Council of State in Greece.

“We understood that Inspire Athens was meant to symbolise more than an integrated resort,” Mohegan Gaming chief executive officer Mario Kontomerkos said.

“It is our hope that Inspire Athens would be the catalyst that sparks the entire development of the Hellinikon area into the coveted Athenian Riviera, forever redefining the modern identity of Greece,” he said.

The casino complex will be part of a larger development for the former airport that is in the hands of Lamda Development, which in December submitted a 650 million euro share capital increase plan.

Aegean Airlines and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development are partners in the overall project, which is considered the biggest urban development in Europe.

Lamda Development’s chief executive officer Odysseas Athanasiou said that the Hellinikon project could add up to two per cent to Greece’s gross domestic product.

The Inspire Athens design was created by international architectural firm Steelman Partners and is inspired by the buildings and sculptures of Ancient Athens.

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