The newly-opened Mohegan Inspire Entertainment Resort (pictured) in South Korea formally applied “last week” for a permit to run gaming, and faces a “two-month” wait for approval, which might come between February 2 and 8, 2024, just before the February 9 to 12 lunar new year holidays in that country.
That is according to an official at the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism – a public department with a role in overseeing the casino sector – in response to a GGRAsia telephone enquiry.
The same official said that the department was doing its best to expedite a gaming permit – for Inspire’s foreigner-only casino – even as the ministry anticipates receipt soon of a five-star rating for the complex’s hotel facilities. Chen Si, Inspire’s property president, had several times outlined to GGRAsia that such grade of hotel certification was required as a condition of gaming permission.
The resort’s promoter, United States-based Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority, trading as Mohegan Gaming, had a soft-opening of Inspire’s non-gaming facilities – including 1,275 hotel rooms – on November 30. Also launched at the resort near Incheon International Airport, were 10 restaurants, and a 15,000-seat arena. Space for MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) events will become operational from early 2024.
The Korea Tourism Association, a body responsible for issuing hotel ratings and separate from the Korea Tourism Organization, confirmed to GGRAsia on Tuesday that the star rating for Inspire was still being processed.
An official of the association said it had been trying to ensure the overall process – hotel grading and casino licence issuance – could be expedited in fewer than 150 days.
As typically, up to 90 days were required for hotel grading, and up 60 days for the casino permit, the idea had been to allow the project promoter to give officials notice of the two applications simultaneously, rather than consecutively, said the person, who asked not to be identified by name.