China visitors boost S. Korean casino revenue

    Revenue from South Korea’s 17 casinos rose about 7.6 percent to 2.64 trillion won in 2013, driven mainly by visitors from China, according to the Korean Casino Market Review by Kore Co.
    The total number of casino visitors exceeded 5.7 million last year, with 2.7 million categorized as foreigners. The number of Chinese visitors continued to grow and accounted for 46.7 percent of the total market. The report said the upswing in China visitor numbers had been helped by a significant addition of baccarat tables.
    In terms of casino preference, Chinese tourists opted for Paradise Walkerhill and Seven Luck Hilton in Seoul. In Jeju, the Hyatt Hotel, which has just been bought by Chinese property developer Landing International, reported that 95.3 percent of its players were Chinese.
    Landing has teamed with Malaysia’s Genting to build a $2.2 billion integrated resort on Jeju. Though groundbreaking has been delayed.
    South Korea’s foreigner-only casinos had 1.36 trillion won in sales, outperforming the only casino open to locals, Kangwon Land, which had 1.28 trillion, the report said. Paradise and Seven Luck made up 90 percent of the foreigner-only market, with growth of 6.6 percent.
    “When considering that the two operators grew at an average rate of 9.4 percent since 2009, there is a good possibility that Paradise and Seven Lucks would overtake Kangwon Land this year,” it said.
    The capital Seoul made up almost two thirds of the foreigner-only market, followed by Jeju at 15.9 percent, up from 11.5 percent the year before. Busan stood at 11.3 percent and Incheon had a 6.4 percent share, almost doubling from the previous year.