Mohegan Gaming Closes In On Final Funding For Inspire Korea Project

Written By Martin Harris on February 19, 2021

For several years, Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment has efforted an ambitious casino and resort project known as Inspire Korea. But despite delays, the Connecticut-based developer and operator remains optimistic.

In a recent quarterly earnings report, the company reported that funding to complete construction would be secured within three months. As a result, Mohegan has now targeted early 2023 for the opening of Inspire Korea, located near Incheon International Airport serving Seoul.

‘Blue chip’ investors helping finance $1.6 billion resort

Chris Jones, vice president of corporate finance for Mohegan, confirmed that construction, the first phase of the $1.6 billion integrated resort, had “slowed down materially” while the company sought financing from various Korean investors.

According to Inside Asian Gaming, the company more than two years ago outlined how the construction cost would be covered.

After putting up $300 million itself along with another $200 million in loans, Mohegan had agreements with the Incheon International Airport for another $200 million and with a group of “blue chip” Korean investors to furnish the remaining $900 million.

Those latter investments have taken longer than anticipated to finalize, according to Jones. One significant factor slowing progress has been the global COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on Korean businesses.

Jones noted the “very heightened sense of COVID restrictions” in South Korea at present.

“Even though we have a lower number of cases in that market they are very wary about it, so as a result we’ve seen things slow down.”

Big plans following completion of Korean casino’s first phase

In early 2016, the South Korean government selected Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment for a license to develop a casino resort near the Incheon airport.

The first phase of construction includes the completion of a 1,256-suite hotel and a 15,000-seat stadium. And scattered throughout the property: conference halls, restaurants, retail outlets, an indoor pool.

Of course, a casino will stand as an attraction, and it will feature 150 table games and 700 slots.

Later phases include a number of highlights, including a Paramount Picture-themed amusement park. The resort will also eventually include an EcoAdventure Park with indoor rock climbing, zip-lining, and an indoor rainforest. Taking advantage of the Incheon airport’s proximity, the property will also feature its very own private air terminal.

Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment isn’t the only Connecticut-based casino company thinking about international expansion. Recently, the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, owner of Foxwoods Resort Casinoannounced plans to reopen a casino in Puerto Rico.

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