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Paradise, Sega Sammy plan $1.7 billion South Korea resort

HONG KONG/SEOUL (Reuters) - Paradise Group <034230.KQ>, one of South Korea's largest casino operators, and Japanese gaming company Sega Sammy <6460.T> plan to invest $1.7 billion (1 billion pounds) to build a luxury resort to tap a surge in Chinese gamblers flocking to the country.

The pair said in a statement on Tuesday they will build a foreigners-only casino in Incheon, in the northwest of the country near the capital Seoul and a short flight away from wealthy gamblers in China and Japan.

South Korea, which bans locals from entering its casinos bar one located in a remote province, is being eyed by global casino operators as a potential site for Asian expansion at a time when countries from Vietnam to Japan are mulling legislation to permit casinos as part of a drive to boost tourism and their economies.

The statement was released during stock trading hours in South Korea. Paradise shares closed up 3.6 percent in Seoul.

(Reporting by Jinsol Lee in Seoul and Farah Master in Hong Kong; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell)