South Korean casino operator Paradise Co Ltd saw its 2020 gaming revenue fall by more than half, which may be why the company chose to reopen its Seoul venue despite little improvement in the country’s COVID-19 situation.
On Wednesday, Paradise announced that its December casino revenue totaled KRW42.2b (US$38.9m), a nearly 40% decline from the same month last year but more than quadruple the company’s November revenue. December’s gains were entirely due to table games, which quintupled from November, while electronic gaming machine revenue fell by more than one-fifth.
December’s take brought Paradise’s full-year revenue to KRW335.3b ($308.5m), down 57.2% from 2019’s result. Table games were down 58% to KRW310.4b, while EGM revenue slid 44.4% to KRW24.9b.
Paradise operates four foreigner-only casinos, including the Paradise City integrated resort in Incheon, along with three smaller venues in Busan, Jeju Island and the Paradise Walkerhill in South Korea’s capital Seoul.
The Walkerhill venue reopened to the public at 7am on Monday after closing in mid-December when the government moved the city to its second-highest pandemic mitigation level. Walkerhill and the Seoul property of Paradise rival Grand Korea Leisure had previously been limited to only 20% of normal capacity.
As with the situation that held sway prior to its December closure, Walkerhill guests must submit a negative COVID-19 test conducted by a recognized medical body in the previous seven days in order to gain entry.
With the exception of Kangwon Land, all South Korean casinos are off-limits to local residents, leaving them dependent on a steady stream of international tourists. But as of Friday (8), South Korea is imposing new restrictions on all in-bound tourists, requiring proof of a negative COVID test in the 72 hours prior to their arrival in the country.
Speaking of Kangwon Land, the nation’s largest casino (by far) in revenue terms was recently granted a three-year extension of its gaming license. The casino, which shut down for the third time in December and remains closed at present, has now been cleared to operate through December 31, 2023.