Caesars pulls the pin on Incheon project 

by Mia Chapman Last Updated
Caesars pulls the pin on Incheon project 

A planned casino in South Korea has been scrapped by Caesars Entertainment.

GGR Asia reports that the US-based casino brand has disposed of its entire stake in the planned Incheon venue to its former partner, Hong Kong-listed Guangzhou R&F Properties.

The project, which had been known as Caesars Korea Resort Complex, was due to have a foreigner-only casino.

The disposal occurred in late January.

The scheme, also known as Midan City Resort Complex, is being promoted by R&F Korea.

Formerly an entity called RFCZ Korea, which had been a 50-50 joint-venture between what was then known as Caesars Entertainment Corp and China’s Guangzhou R&F had been promoting the scheme.

The RFKR entity officially submitted a request to the South Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism in early February this year to postpone the opening of the first phase of the scheme, from March 17 2021 to March 2024, a ministry representative said.

The ministry would require RFKR to find a new partner, one with casino operations experience, according to a government official.

That official said the ministry would give a response before April regarding RFKR’s request for a three-year postponement of the scheme’s opening.

Caesars Entertainment was taken over by Eldorado Resorts in a US$17 billion deal completed in July 2020, with the merged operation renamed as Caesars Entertainment Inc, with a US listing under that name.

In June 2019, soon after the merger plan had been announced, a senior executive at Eldorado Resorts had said regarding Caesars’ ambitions for operations in Asia that the opportunity would have to be “stupendous for us to be running in that direction.”

In August 2019, Caesars Entertainment Corp had said it was dropping its pursuit of a Japan casino licence.

The South Korean scheme, located near the country’s capital Seoul, is to be at the site of the nation’s main international air hub.

A webpage for Caesars Korea, now offline, had said the scheme was to include a hotel, serviced apartments and a foreigner only casino, with more than 720 rooms, suites and villas. 

Total investment was expected to be US$767.5 million, with the gross floor area of 1.85 million square feet.

According to local news outlets, the-then Caesars Korea and Guangzhou R&F had previously been in prolonged talks on financing the project.

Construction was suspended in February 2020, with the first phase approximately 25 per cent completed.

Revenues fall at South Korea’s foreigner-only casinos

The operator of South Korea foreigner-only casinos said that its sales declined by more than one third in January, with year-on-year sales down almost two-thirds.

GGR Asia reported that Paradise Co said its January sales fell 36.2 per cent month-on-month and 61.8 per cent when compared to a year ago.

The group’s January casino revenue amounted to US$24.5 million, a decrease on the US$38.2 billion achieved in December and down further than the US$63.9 billion achieved last January.

Machine-game sales for January were up 28.7 per cent compared to December, but down more than 54 per cent compared to the prior year.

Paradise Co’s gaming operators include Walkerhill in Seoul, Jeju Grand on Jeju Island, Busan Casino in Busan and Paradise City in Incheon, near the company’s main international airport.

Paradise Casino Walkerhill had reopened on January 4, having been closed since December 15 as a COVID-19 countermeasure.

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