Kangwon Land Beat All Other Korean Casinos Combined in 2019 Revenues

Article by : Helen Sep 25, 2020

As reported by South Korea’s National Gambling Control Commission, the 2019 financial year was a striking one for Kangwon Land. It outperformed all other 16 casinos operating in the country combined: Kangwon Land’s total sales for 2019 reached 1.48 trillion South Korean won (equivalent to 1.25 billion in US dollars), while the other 16 casinos brought in 1.45 trillion South Korean won (1.22 billion in USD).

What’s interesting, Kangwon Land attracted less visitors than other casinos over the course of 2019: 2.895 million people frequented this establishment, compared to 3.234 million players that gambled in other casinos. The average bet is what made all the difference: Kangwon Land visitors risked on average 512 000 South Korean won (approximately 430 US dollars). In comparison, other casinos’ average player placed bets for a total of 440 000 South Korean won (370 US dollars).

One reason for such outstanding financial results can be found in South Korea’s peculiar approach to regulating the casino industry. Kangwon Land is a state-owned enterprise, and it’s the only casino in the whole country that allows South Koreans to play on its floor.

Other casinos are opened only to foreigners: at the entrance, potential players have to show their IDs to prove they are foreign nationals. These establishments are commonly known as foreign-only casinos, and the thinking behind allowing them to operate boils down to one goal: to create an influx of foreign capital into the South Korean economy.

What’s more, according to the state’s law, South Koreans traveling abroad may be prosecuted for gambling in other countries.

Located 150 kilometers (93 miles) from the country’s capital Seoul, Kangwon Land opened its doors in 2000 in a province stagnated after the coal mines shut down in an attempt to revitalize it. Back then, the casino had just 30 table games and 480 slot machines. Over the past 20 years, it has grown into a solid casino offering 200 table games and 1,360 slots and video gambling machines.

However, Kangwon Land 2020 financial results are not likely to be as good as in 2019. The company has already reported a 90.5% drop in year-on-year turnover for this year’s second quarter, with the casino operations turnover plummeting by 91.4%. The main reason is, like for most offline casinos around the world suffering tremendous financial losses, the shutdowns due to the COVID-19 rampage.

The casino is currently undergoing its second closure this year. In February 2020, Kangwon Land was forced to shut its doors due to COVID-19. It reopened in May, but not in full capacity: only VIP members were allowed inside the casino; the main floor remained closed. After three months of limited operations, Kangwon Land closed again in mid-August. While it was initially supposed to start operating again on September 7, the company postponed reopening until September 21, as the COVID-19 transmission remains relatively rapid, and the restrictions imposed by the state’s government remain in place.

South Korea is currently experiencing the second wave of COVID-19: the daily new cases started climbing up in mid-August, prompting the authorities to impose the Level 2 restrictions throughout the country on August 23 to slow down the virus transmission.

As of September 11, 2020, South Korea has a total of 21 919 cases, and the transmission rates don’t seem to be slowing down despite the restrictions put in place. All things considered, the country was praised for its approach to containing the spread of the virus by other countries and the scientific community alike.


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