Caesars to open casino in South Korea with Lippo

Little Caesars exterior Caesars is a US firm most known for its casinos on the Las Vegas strip in Nevada

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South Korea has granted approval to US firm Caesars Entertainment to open a "foreigner-only" casino with Indonesian conglomerate Lippo.

The first phase of the project also includes two hotels and will be built near Incheon airport outside Seoul.

Shares in Lippo surged more than 35% after the preliminary approval was announced.

In total the firms expect to invest 2.3 trillion won ($2.1bn) in further projects over the next nine years.

Foreigner appeal

South Korea currently has more than 16 "foreigner-only" casinos, meant to appeal primarily to northern Chinese.

Most of them are clustered near Seoul's airport or on the island of Jeju, which is just over an hour away by plane from northern cities such as Shanghai and Beijing - making them a convenient alternative to Macau.

Last month, Genting Singapore - Southeast Asia's largest casino operator by market value - announced it would build a casino on Jeju with Chinese development firm Landing International to target northern and eastern Chinese gamblers.

The project, which is expected to cost $2.2bn, will include a theme park, shopping malls, apartments and hotels as well as the casino.

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