South Korean casino operator Paradise Co Ltd reported revenue up 3.8% to KRW 591.3b (U $544.5m) in 2014. Paradise operates five of the country’s 17 casinos and is currently building the $1.7b Paradise City integrated resort joint venture with Sega Sammy Holdings on Yeongjongdo island.
Table games continued to be Paradise’s dominant revenue driver in 2014, rising 3.5% to KRW 558.7b for the year thanks to table drop rising 12.7% to KRW 5.3t ($4.9b). Electronic gaming machines rose 10.4% to KRW 32.6b.
Meanwhile, South Korean politicians are coming under increased pressure to pass legislation that would allow locally owned cruise ships to offer onboard gambling. Earlier this month, Prime Minister Chung Hong-won urged the National Assembly to pass 14 pending motions, including a bill that would allow Korean-owned cruise lines to equip their vessels with casinos. Like all but one of South Korea’s brick-and-mortar casinos, these floating casinos would be accessible only by foreign tourists.
A member of the Prime Minister’s staff reminded the Korea Herald that the Harmony Cruise line, which launched with great fanfare in 2012, went bankrupt just two years later. The official compared Harmony Cruise with casino-equipped Malaysian cruise ships, which traditionally generate between 30% and 40% of revenues from gaming.
The desire to jump-start the domestic cruise industry is shared by the country’s president, Park Guen-hye, who made it among her election campaign pledges. The tourism industry employs some 850k citizens and Park wants to boost that to 1m by 2017. The country has also set targets of attracting 16m foreign tourists and raising tourism revenue to $24b by 2017.