Lippo, Caesars win preliminary license to open casino resort near SKorea's largest airport

South Korea says a consortium of Caesars Entertainment and Indonesia's Lippo conglomerate has received a preliminary license to build a casino-resort near the country's largest airport.

South Korea's culture ministry said Tuesday the Indonesian-U.S. consortium plans to spend 743.7 billion won ($696 million) to open a casino town in Incheon in 2018.

It is the first South Korean casino license given to foreign investors. The ministry said it would boost the tourism industry and tax revenues.

The ministry said it would become South Korea's largest casino serving exclusively foreigners.

Local law bans South Koreans from gambling in casinos and the issue of opening a casino for South Koreans has long been contentious.

The ministry said getting the final license would hinge on whether the consortium carries out the planned investment.