I think we are far away.”

U.S. Tribal casino operator Mohigan Gaming & Entertainment reportedly said it hopes to welcome guests to the development of its Inspire Entertainment Resort in South Korea during the second quarter of 2023.

The U.S. federal-recognized Mohegan Tribe company began work on an impressive three-tower casino resort in 2016 with plans to open by mid-year, according to a report from Inside Asian Gaming, but sources detailed the schedule was later cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic and the complexity associated with securing adequate funding sources.

Faced with the prospect of completely losing its gambling license for the upcoming venue, Mohigan Gaming and Entertainment later asked the South Korean government to extend its original contract by six months. The Connecticut-based operator was later granted additional time to set the company’s scheduled opening date by the end of June 2023 at the latest.

According to reports, Bobby Soper, international president of Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment, used a recent interview to declare his company now plans to open a five-star Inspire Entertainment Resort in the second quarter of 2023, but having served as the operator’s boss for two years until February 2017, further delays could be pushed back to the eventual third quarter of 2023

“It was a roller coaster ride, we had ups and downs, and the coronavirus certainly threw a curveball. But we’re on the ground and we’re making a significant investment in the land. We need to finalize the final funding. And I spent two and a half months in Korea to pursue it. I think we are far away.”

Built on 1,079 acres of land on Yeongjongdo Island near the port city of Incheon, the $1.6 billion Inspire Entertainment Resort is known to have 1,300 hotel rooms and 215,200 square feet of foreign-only casinos offering up to 1,500 slots and 250 game tables. It’s all said to be complemented by a 15,000-seat stadium, a 24-acre amusement park, convention and retail stores and host restaurants.

The extension granted to Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment at the end of March reportedly follows a similar move to the nearby Midan City Resort Complex of Chinese developer Gangzhou R&F Properties Company Limited. The $800 million development was originally scheduled to open at the other end of Yeongjongdo earlier this year, but it is understood to have been adjusted for 12 months after struggling with similar coronavirus-related delays from former Caesars Entertainment’s operating partner.

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