CEO of Marina Bay Sands, George Tanasijevich, said in an interview with Korea Economic Daily, that if “investment conditions are met,” Las Vegas Sands Corp. is willing to invest between 5 to 12 trillion won ($4.5 billion to $10.8 billion) in a casino resort in the port city of Busan, in South Korea.
According to the Asia Gaming Brief, Tanasijevich said, “The best location for Sands Group to invest in is Busan. We are willing to move in as soon as investment conditions are met.” In an interview earlier this year with Korea Times, the CEO said that the Las Vegas-based casino operator will do “whatever it takes” to convince the people and the government of Korea of what the company’s resort can offer.
Las Vegas Sands, according to Tanasijevich, has had its eye on the Asian market for approximately eight years, seeking countries with solid prospects for MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences, and events) industry growth. Tanasijevich said that the country’s second largest city is of particular interest because it offers “international airport, hotels, MICE facilities, and department stores across the city,” according to the news agency. He went on the say that, “The city has an unlimited growth potential for its location lying between Japan and China, but is now suffering in obscurity due to lack of enough five-star hotels and exhibition and convention venues.”
Las Vegas Sands previously announced that it was prepared to spend $4.2 billion to $8.5 billion in order to construct a large-scale resort complex either in Seoul or Busan. However, the plan was soon shelved after failing to gain government approval that would have permitted locals to gamble alongside foreign tourists, as reported by the news agency.
Commenting on the opposition by some advocacy groups in Busan, Tanasijevich said, “There were [also] dissenting voices among Singaporeans when the government allowed casino resorts. As a compromise, we came up with a plan to charge 100 Singaporean dollars (US$74) to domestic guests. Currently, only 20 percent of Singaporean guests to the resorts play in the casinos,” per the report. He went on to explain that in a recent survey, 65 percent of respondents indicated that they wouldn’t be opposed to Korean nationals being allowed to enter casinos, so long as the government strictly enforces their regulation.