Casino at Jeju Dream Tower to open in May

The Lotte Tour Development Co will complete the long-awaited relocation of casino operations to its recently opened integrated resort development, Jeju Dream Tower, in May after receiving final approval this week from the Jeju Provincial Government.

The approval comes more than two months after Lotte Tour’s wholly-owned subsidiary, LT Entertainment Co Ltd, applied to relocate the casino from its current home at Lotte Hotel Jeju to the US$1.4 billion Jeju Dream Tower, which launched hotel and other non-gaming operations in December.

Relocation will expand the company’s current gaming space by almost five times to more than 5,000 square meters and see its five gaming tables and 51 machines rise to 150 tables and 300 machines.

The company had previously hoped to open the new casino in March but faced delays due to opposition from some local community groups, including an accusation that Lotte Tour had fudged the results of a residents’ survey.

Jeju Island Tourism Bureau chief Kim Jae-woong said Thursday, “Although investigations are currently underway regarding the suspicion of public opinion polls, there are still no special matters, and the disposition of this change permit can contribute to revitalization of the Jeju economy, which has been stagnant due to COVID-19.”

Jeju’s Casino Business Supervisory Committee granted its approval to Lotte Tour’s change application last week as part of the island’s plan to help revitalize casino companies who have been heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Final approval was then granted Thursday.

No date has yet been given for opening but Lotte Tour said in a Korea Exchange announcement that it would take place in May.

The tallest building in Jeju at 38 floors or 169 meters high, Jeju Dream Tower already features a retail mall, 14 restaurants and bars, an outdoor pool deck, top floor skydeck with lounge, two spas and a hotel.

The opening of non-gaming attractions in December came some 40 years after the 75-acre site upon which it sits was first purchased by Lotte Tour predecessor Dongwha Investment and Development Co Ltd in 1980. Excavation work began in 1984 but was halted due to a lack of funding. The project was eventually resurrected in 2008 and construction resumed in May 2016 following alterations to the design.