Both South Korea’s state-run casino operator Grand Korea Leisure (GKL) and Hong Kong-listed NagaCorp have announced that they have abandoned plans for building an integrated casino on Korea’s Yeongjong Island, and will not participate in the bidding process.

With Chinese crackdown on corruption and subsequent decrease of VIP gambling in the region, executives at NagaCorp and GKL question whether or not adequate returns on an investment are possible. NagaCorp stated that after careful evaluation, the anticipated investment returns do not meet the company’s benchmark for successful investments.

There are currently over 30 groups vying for one of the gambling licenses available on the Island, and barring legalization of gambling in Japan, the Yeongjong Island integrated resort potential adjacent to Incheon International airport vision shows great promise. Up until the announcement, GKL, a majority of which is owned by Korea’s tourism association has been considered the front-runner for the licence.

Tourism is the only source of revenue for the Island, due to the fact that Korean residents are banned from all of Korea’s casinos except for Kangwon Land located in Gangwon Province.

The remaining bidders will have until November 27 to submit their respective proposals and which also require a minimum investment of at least US$850 Million.