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Paradise breaks ground for Yeongjongdo casino

Casino resort complex to offer all-around entertainment experience

YEONGJONGDO, Incheon ― Paradise Sega Sammy broke ground Thursday for its $1.1 billion Paradise City construction project to build an integrated resort and casino complex in Yeongjongdo Island, Incheon, by July 2017.

The company, established in 2012, is a joint venture between South Korean casino operator Paradise Group and Japanese entertainment firm Sega Sammy. Paradise has a 55 percent stake in the firm, while the Japanese partner holds the remaining stake.

“Above all, the resort complex boasts of a geographical advantage in that it is located within walking distance from Incheon International Airport,’’ Paradise Sega Sammy CEO Choi Jong-Hwan said in a news conference. According to the company, visitors landing at Incheon International Airport can walk or take a shuttle to Paradise City.
A rendering of Paradise City, a casino-driven integrated resort complex scheduled to be completed on Yeongjongdo Island, Incheon, by 2017. (Paradise Sega Sammy)
A rendering of Paradise City, a casino-driven integrated resort complex scheduled to be completed on Yeongjongdo Island, Incheon, by 2017. (Paradise Sega Sammy)

Targeting Asian travelers ― in particular the Chinese elite ― Paradise City will not only operate an casino exclusively for foreigners, but also an array of entertainment facilities, including a luxury hotel and a retail plaza filled with Korean pop culture brands and trends.

Paradise strategically formed a partnership with Sega Sammy, which specializes in developing amusement and entertainment content, to offer visitors more than just a casino, officials said.

However, Choi stressed that the main source of income will be the casino business.

Paradise City will boast the nation’s largest casino featuring 160 gambling tables. In a recent interview with foreign media, Choi said the casino at Paradise City would establish a massive junket operator network to bring in an enormous number of high rollers from all parts of China.

But achieving the break-even point would be tough as Korea allows only foreign passport holders to enter casinos.

The company chief expects it to take at least a decade before Paradise City rakes in its desired profit.

“From an investor point of view, Paradise City has the advantage of being the first foreign-invested integrated resort to open in Korea,’’ Choi said.

The joint venture between U.S.-based Caesars Entertainment and Indonesian conglomerate Lippo Group has pushed for a $2 billion integrated resort on the same island, but industry watchers said it would take more than a year to see the project take off as the firm obtained a business license only in March this year.

As a latecomer, Hong Kong-based Chow Tai Fook Enterprises also expressed an interest in developing an integrated resort in Yeongjongdo on Nov. 16, signing a letter of intent with Incheon City.

By Seo Jee-yeon (jyseo@heraldcorp.com)
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