Mohegan officially inaugurates South Korea’s Inspire resort with grand opening event

Inspire Entertainment Resort on Yeongjong Island held its official grand opening ceremony on Tuesday in the presence of Korean government officials and leaders of American casino and gaming company Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment (MGE). 

The opening of the multibillion-dollar integrated resort was attended by some 500 dignitaries and guests, including Korea’s Culture Minister Yu In-chon, the US Ambassador to Korea Philip S. Goldberg, and the members of the Mohegan Council of Elders and Tribal Council of Management Board.
James Gessner Jr., the chairman of the Mohegan Tribe and the MGE Management Board, in his opening speech, said: “This endeavor has been a journey of shared visions and aspirations between the Mohegan Tribe and the Republic of Korea.”

Inspire Resort is MGE’s wholly-owned Korean subsidiary, which will open in multiple phases until 2046 and develop a large-scale integrated resort complex on a 4.36-million-square-meter (46.9-million-square-foot) site at the International Business Complex, otherwise known as the IBC-III area, of Incheon International Airport.

The aggregate funds invested in its first phase amount to nearly 2 trillion won ($1.6 billion), including 960 billion won in foreign direct investment, according to Korea Joongang Daily.  The first phase, when fully operational, is expected to create approximately 3,000 to 4,000 jobs, the resort reported.
The resort is now open in its first phase and features three five-star hotel towers with 1,275 rooms combined; a live performance arena with 15,000 seats; MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions) facilities with the largest hotel banquet hall in Korea; a year-round indoor water park; a foreigner-only casino; a 150-meter (490-foot) immersive digital entertainment street; and the Inspire Mall, which combines shopping, dining and entertainment spaces.

The resort also plans to open an outdoor entertainment park spanning approximately 100,000 square meters, a 1,000-seat food court, an immersive content exhibition center, and an indoor playground for children, all under Phase 1B, said to open in the second quarter.

 “I truly believe we can make Yeongjong Island a global tourism destination, and we ask for your continued support,” Inspire Resort President Chen Si said.

Our journey here has been guided by the Spirit of Aquai, Mohegan’s guiding principle that emphasizes hospitality, mutual respect, collaboration and relationship building,” Ray Pineault, President and CEO of Mohegan, said, as Tuesday’s opening also celebrated Korean, American and Mohegan culture.

Mohegan Inspire is poised to become a landmark destination and a catalyst for tourism, economic growth, and cultural exchanges, enhancing the region’s allure to visitors from across the globe.” 

For his part, Ambassador Goldberg said that the joint endeavor between Korean partners and a Native American company “captures the spirit of our two countries.”

The economic relationship and investment between Korea is a two-way superhighway,” Goldberg said.And today, we celebrate another major milestone in the US-Korea investment relationship — the grand opening of the Inspire resort, one of the largest foreign direct investment ventures in Korea valued at $1.6 billion and expected to create more than 3,000 jobs.”

Meanwhile, Culture Minister Yu spoke about the recently inaugurated foreigners-only Inspire casino. The ministry in January granted Mohegan Inspire the license for its international visitors-only casino — the first such license awarded in 19 years. Korea now has 18 foreigners-only casinos registered with the Korea Casino Association.
This doesn’t just mean one more casino has been added to the country, as the opening of Inspire’s gaming facility marks a significant milestone in Korea’s tourism industry,” Yu said. “I hope that Inspire Resort goes beyond opening its casino in Korea and makes a meaningful contribution to elevating Korea’s cultural tourism; and for this, it is vital that Inspire consistently invests time and energy to become a globally competitive Korean all-in-one resort.”

Inspire Resort inaugurates Korea’s largest foreigners-only casino

Inspire Casino houses 150 gaming tables, 390 slot machines, and a 160-seat ETG stadium across two floors. It is the largest foreigners-only casino in the country and has a dining section available exclusively to casino customers, including an original Cantonese fine dining Inspire Pavilion, and a VIP-only casino floor.
The casino can be reached through a few-hour flights from major neighboring cities such as Tokyo, Osaka, Taipei, Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong. Adjacent to Incheon International Airport, it is expected to attract overseas visitors and transit passengers.

Incheon International Airport Corporation CEO Lee Hag-Jae highlighted the bright prospects for inbound tourism in Korea. According to Lee, Incheon Airport recorded 56 million inbound visitors last year, recovering 80 percent of the demand from pre-Covid times in 2019.

The resort’s 15,000-seat multipurpose hall Inspire Arena is also expected to attract several visitors, hosting K-pop events, live music performances by domestic and international artists, K-culture events and esports competitions. It currently shares the title of the biggest concert venue in Korea, along with the KSPO Dome in Songpa District, southern Seoul. 

“Since the soft opening in November, the resort is already seeing more than 10,000 visitors on average daily and is poised to become a de facto iconic tourist destination in Korea,” Incheon Mayor Yoo Jeong-bok said.

I do not doubt this collaboration between the Korean government and Mohegan will not only boost the local economy and tourism, but the resort will also become a landmark that will be the best of its kind in Korea.”