SJM Holdings Invited to Operate New Casino in Seoul
SJM Holdings Limited, the casino operator who generates the most revenue in Asia, has been invited to operate a casino that is being constructed at an airport near Seoul, the capital of South Korea.
The firm, which is based in China and founded by Stanley Ho, the casino magnate, received a proposal from Sega Sammy Holdings Incorporated and Paradise Co. of South Korea to jointly operate the casino resort, which would be located at Incheon International Airport. If SJM accepts the proposal, it would be stepping into the country for the first time.
According to a press release issued by Sega Sammy in November 21, the $1.2 billion worth casino project, which goes under the name Paradise City, is scheduled to be launched early in 2017 at the International Business Center of the airport. Lippo Limited, a developer from Hong Kong, and Caesars Entertainment Corporation of Las Vegas, are constructing another casino near the airport, the first phase of which will be completed early in 2018.
The share values of Sega Sammy and Paradise City have risen while the share value of SJM has declined by nearly 53 percent this year. SJM had enjoyed a monopoly on gambling in Macau for nearly 40 years till 2002, but it is not generating as much revenue as it used to because the Chinese government had cracked down on its high roller residents, forcing them to curb their lavish spending. Sega Sammy, a maker of pachinko and video game machines, wants to take advantage of SJM’s popularity in the Chinese market and attract Chinese high rollers to Paradise City.
SJM is yet to decide whether to accept the proposal or not. While SJM has refused to comment, Lee Sang Yeon, the executive director of the planning department for the Sega Sammy – Paradise City venture, called the media report “unfounded.”
Paradise City is destined to be the first integrated casino resort exclusively for foreigners in Seoul. It is the city’s attempts to boost its tourism sector and draw rich tourists and gamblers from mainland China. South Korea currently has 17 casinos, and only one of them is open to local gamblers.
When completed, the facility will include a full-fledged casino with 350 slot machine games, 160 table games, a shopping mall, a couple of hotels, a spa, and a convention hall. According to Sega Sammy’s press note, the entire facility will sprawl over a site of 330,000 square meters.
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