In a filing with the Korea Exchange, Paradise said its 2015 sales fell to KRW 569.9b (US $476m) from KRS 668.4b in 2014. Paradise is South Korea’s largest foreigners-only casino operator, operating five of the country’s 17 venues in major cities like Seoul as well as on the resort island of Jeju.
Table games earned the overwhelming bulk (93.2%) of 2015’s sales, although these were down 15.9% to KRW 531m. Gaming machines contributed a much smaller portion of sales, but these were up 4.4% year-on-year to KRW 38.8b.
The operator closed out the year on a down note, as December’s sales tumbled 25.1% to KRW 41.7b. The size of the decline is a disappointment, given that Paradise’s monthly shortfalls had appeared to moderate in recent months after enduring some truly horrific year-on-year declines earlier in 2015.
Paradise and its domestic rivals took some punishing body blows midway through the year as the country grappled with an outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) that killed dozens of people and temporarily brought international tourism to a standstill.
Compounding matters, February saw China issue a warning to other Asian nations to stop luring Chinese citizens abroad for the purpose of gambling, which is illegal on the Chinese mainland. A few months later, Chinese authorities arrested a number of South Korean nationals for allegedly organizing trips for Chinese tourists to South Korean casinos, including Paradise, which had recently expanded its operations to accommodate the influx of Chinese gamblers.
Paradise will hope for better things in 2016, including progress on its Paradise City integrated resort near Incheon. The project, a joint venture with Japan’s Sega Sammy Holdings, broke ground in November 2014 and is expected to open in July 2017, the first of several planned or proposed resorts the country hopes to welcome in the next few years.