Opening of Jeju Shinhwa World Casino Delayed Yet Again

Posted on: January 6, 2018, 04:00h. 

Last updated on: January 6, 2018, 09:08h.

The casino at the Jeju Shinhwa World resort on South Korea’s Jeju Island has pushed back its opening date yet again, with officials this time citing a delay in the transfer of a casino license from another gaming facility.

Jeju casino delay
Jeju Shinhwa World has opened many resort attractions, but a planned casino has been delayed several times. (Image: Jeju Shinhwa World)

The casino, which was to be operated by Hong Kong’s Landing International Development, was originally announced to be opening on December 8.

Two rounds of delays pushed the grand opening to January 18 of this year before Wednesday’s announcement. The opening has now been postponed to a yet unannounced later date.

Landing Looks to Move Casino from Hotel to Resort

According to a spokesperson, the issue is now that Landing International wants to take their current casino operations, which are hosted in a local Hyatt hotel, and move them to the resort.

“We have submitted our application to relocate our casino in Hyatt Jeju to Jeju Shinhwa World,” the spokesperson said. “The Jeju government is currently processing our application and we expect the casino transfer to be approved by the Jeju government after the next sitting of the Jeju [Provincial Council] in February 2018.”

The proposed resort casino would be significantly larger than Landing International’s hotel operation on the island. While their venue in the Hyatt only features 16 electronic machines and 28 tables, the proposed resort casino would feature 160 table games along with 240 slots.

Resort Opens Other Attractions While Waiting on Casino

The Jeju Shinhwa World resort began its first phase of operations just last year, with retail space, hotels, a convention center, and a theme park, which opened last September. Still, the resort won’t be considered truly complete until the casino is opened.

“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 last August.

According to Landing International, the company plans to continue offering training to casino workers while they wait for the gambling license to be transferred. In total, the resort has about 2,000 employees, including those that are intended to work at the planned casino.

As with almost all casinos in Korea, only foreigners would be permitted to gamble at the new facility. The only exception to this rule in the country is Kangwon Land, located about 100 miles south of Seoul, which does allow local players.

The Korean government recently ordered the resort to cut its gaming operations down to 18 hours a day from the previous 20-hour schedule, which could reduce revenues at that facility.

Jeju Island is the largest of the islands situated off the coast of Korea. The island makes up the entirety of the Jeju Special Administrative Province, an area that enjoys some degree of autonomy from the central South Korean government.

The island is also a popular tourism destination for Chinese visitors, who can enter Jeju without a visa. However, Chinese tourism to the island has diminished significantly following a temporary travel ban instituted by Chinese President Xi Jinping during a diplomatic standoff last fall.

According to the Bank of Korea, the decline in Chinese tourism may have cost South Korea more than $4.5 billion in revenue