INSIDE ASIAN GAMING FEB 2019 22 COVER STORY WHERE’S THE BULGOGI? Not everyone is sold on Paradise City or Incheon. In a report, JP Morgan analyst DS Kim contends Phase 1-2’s KRW530 billion capital cost and KRW85 billion annual operating expense, KRW110 billion with depreciation, are “much too high” for the revenue it will generate. Questions have also been raised about placing Art Paradiso’s premium rooms farthest from gaming, the absence of casino retail staples such as watch and jewelry shops and the lack of “Korean-ness” that Paradise promised to emphasize. It took 18 months for Paradise City to open a Korean barbecue restaurant. Except for occasional music videos on the casino bar’s gigantic screen, there are no hints of hallyu, the Korean cultural wave influencing Asia and beyond. “On your first and second visit here [you might say], ‘Oh, it’s very luxurious. Looks like Las Vegas. Looks like Macau,’” Park says. “When you visit more, you’ll feel the Korean style in many places.” Success for Incheon IRs may well depend on reaching critical mass. Caesars Korea began building its KRW850 billion twin tower project in September 2017, scheduled to open during the second quarter of 2021 inMidan City, about 15 minutes from the airport by car. Mohegan Gaming’s Inspire Entertainment Resort, at the opposite end of the airport from Paradise City, promises a Paramount Pictures theme park and 15,000 seat arena, extending its US partnership with Live Nation to provide entertainment for it. Mohegan aims to begin construction in May for a 2022 opening. “Bring them on,” Caesars President for International Development Steve Tight urges. “The Korean integrated resort market is not defined at this time,” Steelman Partners CEO Paul Steelman, interior designer and architectural consultant for Inspire, says. “You need integrated resorts to compete in the region. Korea is just taking its first steps towards creating a series of resorts designed and constructed in the spirit of Las Vegas. Only then will the market be reinvented.” Caesars Entertainment has begun construction on its nearby Incheon IR “On your first and second visit here [you might say], ‘Oh, it’s very luxurious. Looks like Las Vegas. Looks like Macau’. When you visit more, you’ll feel the Korean style in many places.” – Paradise City President and CEO Park Pyung-yong.