Mohegan Gaming redirects international energies to South Korea


Posted: Nov 9, 2021, 12:45 p.m.

Last update on: November 8, 2021, 01:23 a.m.

Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment (MGE) officially withdrew its stake in a more than $ 1 billion integrated resort casino project in Athens, Greece last week.

Mohegan Gaming INSPIRE Casino South Korea
A rendering of INSPIRE in Incheon, South Korea is shown. Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment has said it is focusing entirely on the Asian project after pulling out of Greece. (Image: Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment)

MGE, the games entity owned by the Mohegan tribe of Connecticut, said it would focus all of its international expansion efforts on South Korea instead. INSPIRE South Korea is a proposed $ 1.6 billion resort concept that is under construction adjacent to Incheon International Airport.

“MGE conducted a comprehensive review of its operations and future commitments in the new context created by the global COVID-19 pandemic and concluded that we would not continue to pursue concession rights for the Athens project” , explained a press release from MGE.

We focus on the big business of INSPIRE Korea, which will consume over the next few years. Although we know that this is a disappointment for many, it is the right decision for our company and its stakeholders ”, the press release added.

MGE sold its stake in the project to its local partner in Greece GEK Terna. Mohegan Gaming announced in September that it was falling back on the Athens business, but the sale made it official.

Mohegan defeated his American tribal gaming rival Hard Rock International, which is owned by the Seminole tribe of Florida, for the Athens project. Hard Rock is reportedly considering a return to Greece after the exit of MGE.

Concentration in South Korea

Mohegan Gaming first announced its intentions in South Korea in April 2015. The casino’s opportunity came from the South Korean government’s plan to transform the major airline hub into a destination for recreation, entertainment and entertainment. ‘business.

Almost seven years later, the work at INSPIRE remains for years after its completion. Many reasons were given to explain the delays.

MGE explained that the process of obtaining the necessary building and land use permits from local and state governments was a long and difficult process. Political tensions between the Koreas also slowed construction, as the North Korean regime caused a lot of uncertainty in the region by regularly testing rocket missiles in 2017 and 2018.

COVID-19 has only further delayed INSPIRE. But now, says MGE, it’s full steam ahead.

The current INSPIRE project includes 1,200 hotel rooms, suites and villas, a congress and meeting space capable of hosting large events, a multi-purpose arena with 15,000 seats, dozens of restaurants and bars offering a range of kitchen, high-end retail stores, and a casino with 700 slot machines and 150 table games.

Opening schedule

Mohegan Gaming hopes to open INSPIRE, originally slated for 2022, in late 2023. MGE said the South Korean government recently approved the company’s latest route to begin operations.

We are delighted to hear the news of the approval of the government’s expected change in business plan, ”said Andrew Billany, CEO of INSPIRE. “We plan to standardize the construction of the complex shortly. “

Billany said the new 2023 opening target is the result of COVID-19 construction hindrance and “realistic and practical changes in the tourism and hospitality industry.”

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