The Market Tightens Day By Day For South Korea Casinos With Foreign Gamblers Last-Resort Assistance

Image by Kenneth Bastian
Article by : Helen Sep 9, 2020

The severe consequences of the coronavirus have not spared South Korean operators. Gambling establishments are still losing their relevance due to the continuous new cases of Covid-19 infection. A few weeks ago, the number of diseases increased significantly. Rates of new patients became so high that the government had to make every effort to double the number of hospital beds in intensive care units.

It sounds shocking, but on Tuesday, the number of free beds for new patients in the greater Seoul area did not exceed ten. Therefore, the government immediately responded to the situation and allocated $84 million to provide hospitals with everything they need if the problem begins to deteriorate.

Against the backdrop of such news, casinos are experiencing incredible difficulties. Continuous operating losses from business downtime and a colossal decline in tourists’ flow have very dire consequences. Paradise Co Ltd temporarily closed its doors at one of its most successful casino properties a week earlier, namely Paradise City casino in Incheon.

The reason for this measure was a positive Covid-19 test result that one of the casino employees witnessed. The management immediately ordered additional disinfection of all rooms and surfaces in the casino. Previously, the gambling establishment planned to restart the business on Thursday. This date was later pushed back to 6:00 am on Monday, September 7. The operator did not disclose the real reasons and only noted that it was necessary to increase guests’ and employees’ safety.

According to several South Korean media outlets, the real reason for the postponement was the discovery of 6 Covid-19 positive employees. Two of them worked in the gaming halls. Besides, reporters noted that two more infected worked as cooks at a local Chinese restaurant Imperial Treasure.

In a press release on Friday, the company said that the casinos’ suspension is an important measure to ensure the required security level defined by South Korea’s “Level 2.5” social distancing protocol. According to the document’s official text, this concerns the restriction of the work of restaurants and other catering establishments.

Monday, September 7, is also the date South Korea’s largest casino, Kangwon Land, is planning to restart. The peculiarity of this casino is that it is the only place where locals can gamble. The casino has been on standby since the end of February. Since May, the gambling establishment has opened its doors exclusively for VIP clients. Two weeks ago, the brand ceased operations due to an increase in the number of new cases of Covid-19.

Previously, management announced a possible restart of the business on August 29. However, these plans were not destined to come true. It is in vain to expect that the casino will open its doors again on Monday. Independent observers note that most likely, the facility will not have time to make all the necessary preparations and ensure the required level of security.

One of Paradise City casino’s main competitors, namely Grand Korea Leisure, announced that during August, the income of 3 gambling establishments decreased by more than 25% compared to the same period in 2019. Although in July the company recorded an increase of 13.7%, the same figure in August looked like 11% less.

South Korean casinos have to rely exclusively on foreign citizens who have been living in the country for a long time. However, putting all hopes solely on non-residents is not a good idea, since the demand for gambling services, even among foreign citizens, is gradually decreasing.


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