Jeju Shinhwa World, the $1.8 billion integrated resort currently under construction on the South Korean holiday island of Jeju, has announced that its “official opening” will take place on December 8.

Jeju Shinhwa World official opening December

An artists’ rendering of one of two theme parks that will open soon at Jeju Shinhwa World. The entire resort is expected to be completed in late 2019. (Image: Landing International)

The casino rolled out an initial phase soft opening in April, with the launch of a 344-units of luxury accommodation, known as Somerset Jeju Shinhwa World, but is yet to offer casino gaming.

Developer Landing International said that December 8 would see the opening of several facilities including a Landing-branded hotel, conference and exhibition space, restaurants and a shopping mall.

Hong Kong-based Landing also said in its press statement that an “on-site casino” would be available, although this is expected to be an ad hoc facility, rather than the full-scale gaming operations expected next year.

Theme Parks and K-pop

In statement late August, the company said it was considering moving its existing licensed casino operations at the nearby Hyatt Regency Jeju Hotel to Jeju Shinhwa World as a temporary measure, until the permanent casino is added prior the resort’s ultimate completion in late 2019.

“It is recognized that [a] casino is one of the most essential facilities within an integrated resort to complement better offerings to its visitors with a complete hospitality experience,” the company said. “And in order to leverage and utilize current casino operation resources within the group’s business as a whole, the group is exploring the possibility of relocating Landing Casino to Jeju Shinhwa World.”

Between now and December, more facilities will be rolled out, including a family theme park, which will offer 15 rides, and “YG Town,” a themed bar and café operated by entertainment agency YG Entertainment, which represents South Korean celebrities and entertainers, including “K-pop” singers.

By the time of its completion, Jeju Shinhwa World will have added another theme park, “Lionsgate Movie World,” and another hotel, the Four Seasons Resorts and Spa.

Foreigners Only

Jeju Island is a favorite destination for Chinese tourists, who are offered visa-free access. All South Korean casinos are “foreigner-only,” with the exception of the remote Kangwon Land Casino at the foot of Mount Harnbaeksan.

Jeju Shinhwa World was initially a joint project between Landing and Malaysian casino giant Genting, which, in November last year, sold its 50 percent stake to Landing for $420 million.

It’s believed Genting had hoped the South Korean government would lift the ban on nationals gambling in casinos, as had been mooted, but with no such move now on the horizon, it chose to sell up and focus on the soon-to-emerge Japanese market instead.