SEOUL, June 2 South Korean casino operator
Paradise Co has hired Jose Mourinho, the outspoken
manager of English football giants Chelsea, as the face of its
new advertising campaign to lure punters from China, where the
sport is increasingly popular.
Paradise is teaming up with Japan's Sega Sammy Holdings Inc
to build a $1.7 billion casino resort in the coastal
city of Incheon, near the country's main international airport,
with construction to be completed in 2017.
It faces steep competition from operators like Genting
Singapore PLC and Caesars Entertainment Corp,
which are moving to build their own tourist-focused resorts in
South Korea, where all but one of the existing 17 casinos are
open only to foreigners.
Paradise hopes Mourinho, a football manager with a string of
accomplishments that includes the UEFA Champions League titles
in 2004 and 2010, will now kick goals for the casino and win
over Chinese customers. He replaces Hollywood superstar Robert
De Niro as Paradise's brand ambassador.
It expects the Incheon resort to attract 160,000 visitors a
day, of which two-thirds are likely to be Chinese.
The number of Chinese tourists to South Korea surged 52.5
percent to 4.3 million last year, according to the Korea Tourism
"The growing interest in football in China, and the fact
that a significant number of casino customers are Chinese, was
the main reason behind naming Mourinho as the model," Paradise
said in a statement.
Gaming revenues in South Korea totalled $2.7 billion in 2013
according to research house CIMB, slightly higher than in the
Philippines at $2.6 billion but trailing both Singapore at $6.4
billion and the Chinese territory of Macau, at $45 billion.
Paradise declined to disclose how much Mourinho will be
(By Se Young Lee; Editing by Tony Munroe and Michael Perry)