Casino operators in South Korea continue to restrict gambling operations due to COVID-19 as the country struggles to control infection levels.
Last Friday, Kangwon Land, the only South Korean casino to allow locals into its gambling hall, announced that its plan to reopen to the public on Monday will not materialize. Instead, the casino extended the closure until 6am on Monday 21 September.
Kangwon Land closed for the first time at the end of February, but some VIP gambling establishments reopened in May. However, plans to open a gambling hall to the mass market came to nothing, and the company was forced to close all operations in mid-August for the second time.
We wrote earlier at casinoz that in early May, Kangwon Land announced a loss of revenue equal to almost one-fifth of its total for 2019. The company’s second quarter income statement showed:
Revenue fell 91.4% year-on-year, and first half net income showed a net loss of 201.6 billion won ($ 169.9 million) compared to 153.4 billion won in profit in the first half of 2019 of the year.
The company said on Friday that the latest closure would deprive the company of another 36.4 billion won in lost profits.
Paradise Co Ltd, which operates four foreign-only casinos in South Korea, was forced to close its leading integrated resort Paradise City last week due to a positive COVID-19 case among restaurant employees. The company was closed for several days of disinfection, but the reopening was later delayed until Monday.
Instead, Paradise announced Friday that Paradise City’s non-gaming operations will reopen on Wednesday September 9th at 1:00 pm, and its gaming halls will remain closed "indefinitely" to ensure the safety of both customers and staff. Local media reported that the number of infected employees rose to six as of Friday, including two employees involved in gaming operations.
Prior to this latest disruption, Paradise seemed to weather the pandemic better than some of its competitors. The company said Monday that its gambling revenue in August was 17.3 billion won, down 75% from the same period last year, but virtually unchanged from July 2020. For the year-to-date, revenues were down 51.4% year-on-year to 240.4 billion won.
Keeping revenue stable on a consistent basis looks good compared to rival Grand Korea Leisure, which last week reported business at its three foreign-only casinos in August fell 11% from July.
South Korea reported 119 more cases on Monday, continuing a series of daily triple-digit increases in the number of infections since August 14, although that number has not reached 200 for five consecutive days. On Monday, the capital, Seoul, imposed new restrictions, including banning food and drink from food vans and street stalls, and ordering bakeries and ice cream shops to close.