BUSINESS

Casino mogul eyes investment in Korea

By Korea Herald
  • Published : Apr 11, 2012 - 15:29
  • Updated : Apr 11, 2012 - 19:50
MACAU ― Las Vegas Sands, the world’s largest casino operator, is looking to invest in Korea as it expands business in booming Asian tourism and resort markets.

“Korea has the need to increase tourism, it has need to create a convention-based MICE business model that is our specialty,” Las Vegas Sands chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson said in an interview with Korean reporters in Macau.

“We want very much to invest multi-billion dollars into integrated resorts in two locations. One in Seoul or perhaps Incheon … the second one is Busan, where we met with a mayor few weeks ago.”

The interview was made on the sidelines of the opening of the Sands Cotai Central in the world’s casino business hub.

He added he prefers Seoul to Incheon because of the capital’s sound infrastructure and vibrant business activities.

“I want the integrated resort to be successful. To be successful we need tourism infrastructure that includes many other hotels, restaurants, transport and accessibility to the location. Incheon is not bad but not an ideal location,” he said.

Regarding the new Macau facility, the world’s 11th richest man stressed that it would serve as an ‘integrated resort’ and not just a gambling place, “The whole idea is to create a Disneyland for adults, there’s no such place for Asian people,” he said.

“Unlike other places where the sole focus is on casinos, we are offering entertainment elements and conventions that could attract millions of travelers and business people.”

Meanwhile, Las Vegas Sands is currently in talks with Spain’s two biggest cities, Madrid and Barcelona, to invest $22 billion to start up the “Eurovegas” project, the company said.

Authorities from the cash-strapped cities are welcoming the massive investment. But some critics and citizen groups expressed doubt about the company’s promise to create over 260,000 jobs. They argue that the project will cause serious social problems such as gambling addiction, prostitution and other crimes.

By Park Han-na, Korea Herald correspondent
(hnpark@heraldcorp.com)