It was confirmed by the Korea Casino Association (KCA) that the casino market of South Korea has accumulated gambling cash turnover of KRW480.45 billion (US$409.1 million) for the first half of the fiscal year. Meanwhile, the full-year gambling turnover for 2020 amounted to KRW1.04 trillion. Before the global Covid-19 pandemic affected the country, the 2019 full-year sales were estimated to be KRW2.93 trillion.
The numbers reported for the first-half of the year showed that South Korean casinos enjoyed a total of 619,221 visitors during that period. The aggregate casino visits for the full year for 2020 amounted to 1,756,963. Meanwhile, in 2019, the full-year visits of South Korean casinos were 6,128,952.
Negative Effect of Global Covid-19 Pandemic on South Korea’s Casino Sector
Currently, as well as in 2020, South Korea’s casino industry is suffering huge losses due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Due to preventive measures, there were serious restrictions on foreigners entering the country. This turned out to be a serious issue for the casino industry as 16 out of the total of 17 casinos in South Korea accept only foreign customers. In addition to that, casino facilities were required to operate at half-capacity to prevent the spread of the virus.
According to the Korea Casino Association, the first-half casino sales of Kangwon Land Inc, the only South Korean casino serving locals, amounted to KRW302.17 billion. As for the full-year 2020 casino sales of the company, the number amounted to KRW443.55 billion. Even though the casino was open to locals, it still suffered huge losses when compared to the sales for 2019, amounting to KRW1.48 trillion.
Due to the Covid-19 restrictions, the visits of the Kangwon Land casino were also affected, totalling 286,611 for the first half of 2021. The full-year numbers of visits for 2020 were also significantly low, totalling 599,265. Compared to the full-year aggregate visits of 2,895,191 for 2019, it is easy to notice the negative effect of the pandemic on the South Korean casino industry.
South Korea’s Foreigners-Only Casinos Generate Gambling Sales of KRW178.29 Billion
South Korea’s owner of the only casino open for locals, Kangwon Land Inc, recorded net profit of almost KRW20.9 billion for its second quarter. These results showed a revival of the casino company as it recorded a net loss of KRW40.9 billion for the previous quarter and a net loss of KRW45.56 billion one year ago.
When we take a look at the 16 South Korean casinos that are open only to foreigners, there is definitely a huge slump in sales after the global pandemic hit the country. According to data shared by the KCA, the 16 casinos accumulated total gambling sales of KRW178.29 billion for the first half of 2021. Their full-year sales for 2020 amounted to KRW597.8 billion, while the accumulated yearly sales for 2019 were KRW1.45 trillion.
The 16 only-foreigners casinos in South Korea are allowed to offer their services only to customers who have permanent residency in another country. Those who have both South Korean and foreign citizenship, however, can also visit and gamble at the 16 casinos.