Korean casino for locals has reopened

By Charlotte Lee Updated
Korean casino for locals has reopened

Kangwon Land, Korea’s only casino open to locals, has reopened for the first time in 50 days.

Asgam reports that up to 750 people are now permitted to use Kangwon Land’s mass gaming floor at any one time as of last Monday, while a further 68 people can make use of VIP gaming facilities.

All guests must be seated, the company stated, and masks are mandatory.

The reopening of limited casino operations comes after Kangwon Land was forced to close for a second time this year on August 23 as a result of increased national COVID-19 infections.

Kangwon Land had earlier suspended casino operations on February 23, before reopening for VIP guests on May 8 and for main gaming floor players from July 20.

The company recently revealed its expected loss in sales for its second closure amounted to US$53.7 million.

After Korea’s second wave peaked on August 26, daily infection numbers have fallen below 100 since the start of October, but on Tuesday, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency reported a monthly high of 102 new cases recorded in the past 24 hours.

South Korean casino closes after virus outbreak

A Korean casino operator said the venue remains closed after six employees tested positive to COVID-19 last week.

Asgam reported in September that the foreigner-only Paradise City said all gaming facilities at the integrated resort in Incheon will remain closed.

A joint venture project between Paradise Co and Japan’s Sega Sammy Holdings, the venue was initially closed for three days from September 1 after one staff member tested positive.

That cluster has now grown to at least six resort staff, including two casino workers, local media reports.

Paradise City said on its website it had “decided to close the entire facility…as a high-intensity measure for the safety of customers, employees and local communities.”

The entire resort will remain closed until 1pm, Wednesday, 9 September with the casino to stay closed “indefinitely”, it added.

“During the suspension period, we will do our best to prevent the spread of infection by expanding the scope of inspections as well as conducting thorough disinfection and precise quarantine for the entire facility, including the relevant business site in close consultation with the quarantine authorities,” the company said.

Paradise Co previously called all four of its Korean casinos – Paradise City, Paradise Walkerhill, Busan Casino and Jeju Grant – on March 23, following the outbreak of COVID-19, before reopening Jeju Grand on April 13 and the remaining three on April 20.

Losses grow at South Korean casinos

Casino revenue losses are piling up thanks to shutdowns related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Calvin Ayre reported in August that while some casinos are starting to report gains, many are still in the red.

South Korean casino operators Paradise Co and Kangwon Land fall into the latter category.

Kangwon Land’s casino in South Korea is still feeling considerable pressure, reporting a loss of $38.4 million for the second quarter of the year.

This follows a loss of $131.68 million from the first quarter, completing wiping out its $42.97 million profit from the second quarter of 2019.

The Kangwon Land casino is the only property that has been approved for local gamblers and was forced to shut down from February 23 to May 8 because of COVID-19.

When it opened, the casino only welcomed back VIP gamblers at first.

Gross gaming revenue for the second quarter plummeted 91.4 per cent year-on-year and 85.9 per cent quarter-over-quarter.

The figure stood at $23.88 million, with total sales at the venue dropping 90.5 per cent to $29.22 million.

As a result of the continued weak performance, Kangwon Land saw a 63.5 per cent drop in sales across the entire first half of the year, reporting an aggregate loss of $170.1 million.

Paradise, which is behind four foreigner-only casinos in South Korea, was forced to report a net loss of $26.9 million in the second quarter, which was on top of the $2.46 million loss from the first quarter.

Overall sales for the company plummeted 68.1 per cent year-on-year and reached just $62.97 million, while casino sales lost 65.7 per cent to peak at $29.99 million.

The four casinos halted their operations as of March 24, with one, on Jeju Island, picking up where it left off on April 13.

The remaining three followed a week later, but the damage had already been done.

This led Paradise to scramble to cut costs, including offering paid and unpaid leave, voluntary retirement options and more.

Against the backdrop of a weak 2020, South Korea is about to get another casino operator in its landscape.

Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment wants to have a large integrated resort in the country by 2022, and isn’t deterred by the sudden economic downturn caused by COVID-19.

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