Caesars Entertainment announced that it has decided to forgo participation in its planned casino project in Incheon, South Korea. The stake will go to the US brand partner Guangzhou R&F Properties, which is listed in Hong Kong. The project called Caesars Korea Resort Complex was supposed to have an exclusive casino for foreigners, among other facilities.
According to a source from the Incheon Free Economic Zone Authority (IFEZA), which is the public body that oversees the site, Caesars ditched its stake in January. The source was unable to share what was the reason behind this move.
The project, also known as the Midan City Resort Complex, was promoted by an organization called R&F Korea (RFKR). Its previous name was RFCZ Korea and it had been a 50% joint venture between Caesars Entertainment and China Guangzhou R&F.
According to a representative of the ministry, RFKR submitted an official request to the South Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism in early February, for postpone opening of the first phase of property from March 17, 2021 to March 2024.
For the project to be successful, the ministry would require RFKR to find a new partner, who would have similar experience in casino operations to that of Caesars.
The ministry is expected to respond to RFKR’s request for a three-year postponement already in april.
Last July, Caesars Entertainment signed a $ 17 billion merger deal with the casino operator Eldorado Resorts. The merger plan was announced in 2019 and shortly thereafter, a senior Eldorado Resorts executive commented on Caesars’ ambition to operate in Asia. According to the official, the opportunity would have to be “great for us to run in that direction.”
Later, in the summer of 2019, Caesars announced that it gave up its plan to obtain a casino license in Japan.
Incheon Future Project
The project was supposed to be located not far from the capital of the country, Seoul, in Incheon, the site of the country’s main international air hub. The project used to be described by promoters as a multiphase scheme.
According to a website created by Caesars, which is now offline, the project was supposed to include not only a foreigner-only casino, but also a hotel and serviced apartments offering more than 720 rooms, suites and villas.
The parties involved invested KRW850 billion (US $ 767.5 million). The gross floor area was 172,249 square meters (1.85 million square feet).
According to local media, Caesars Corea and Guangzhou R&F had been in long discussions about the future of the project. Construction was supposed to take place in February 2020 and the first of the many phases was supposed to be 25% ready.
However, another source shared that the two parties have been doubting the success of the project as the current coronavirus pandemic is affecting the industry.
Source: “Caesars exits Korean casino, former R&F partner calls for 3-year delay”, GGR Asia, February 19, 2021