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Korea’s Mohegan Inspire sets 30 November soft opening date

| By Robert Fletcher
The Mohegan tribe has announced that its new Mohegan Inspire Entertainment Resort in South Korea will host a soft opening on 30 November.

Mohegan said the soft launch next week will allow visitors to access certain facilities ahead of the resort’s full launch. Several other opening phases will follow before Incheon-based Mohegan Inspire becomes fully operational during the first half of 2024.

The soft launch includes three hotel towers, over 10 restaurants and a multi-purpose arena, the first of its kind in Korea. Visitors can also access the “Aurora” digital entertainment street and “Splash Bay”, a glass-domed indoor water park.

Following this initial phase, the resort will open the “Inspire Mall” and a foreigner-exclusive casino in Q1 of 2024. Other amenities including outdoor entertainment facility “Discovery Park”, a food court and exhibition centre, will follow in Q2.

Milestone soft launch for Mohegan

Mohegan Tribe and Mohegan Management Board chairman James Gessner said the soft launch is a “momentous” occasion for Mohegan.

“We are honoured to work closely with the Korean government to make this day possible,” Gessner said. “We look forward to Inspire contributing to the local and regional economies by creating local jobs, bringing visitors to enjoy the Incheon region and attracting new businesses both on and adjacent to the property.”

Chen Si, who was appointed president of Mohegan Inspire in September, also welcomed the news. He said the soft launch is a “major” milestone for the resort project ahead of its full opening.

Si, who previously worked at Las Vegas Sands, is overseeing budget and business plans for the $5.0m integrated resort project.

“I would like to express a sincere gratitude to the Korean government, municipalities, local communities and our team members for their support and collaboration on this project,” Si said.

“As we grow with the community, we will establish ourselves as an ultimate entertainment destination that attracts visitors from around the world, filled with inspiration and innovation.”

Mohegan Inspire gambling limited to non-citizens

The Mohegan tribe was awarded a licence from the South Korean government in February 2016. It is located at Incheon International Airport and, when fully open, will be the largest integrated resort in Northeast Asia.

Mohegan president and CEO Ray Pineault previously said the resort would generate “a good portion” of revenue from non-gaming business. Korean law dictates that only non-citizens can legally gamble at the casino.

Si’s appointment as president in September formed a key part of preparations for the soft and eventual full opening. 

Wade Howk was also appointed as chief operating officer at the integrated resort. Howk previously served as chief financial officer and interim president at Hard Rock Casino Cincinnati.

This week, iGB published an in-depth report on integrated resorts and their potential. Here, Pineault spoke about how Mohegan had gone about planning for the opening of the Korea resort, including the importance of combining gambling and non-gaming facilities.

“We strive to bring the best practices from our US operations to the Korean market but in a way tailored to the unique market dynamics,” Pineault said. “In our planning, we have extensively researched Korea’s consumer behaviour to ensure we provide a localised touch.”

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