Kangwon Land plans expansion with home-grown slots

South Korean casino operator Kangwon Land has developed its own range of slot machines and is planning to distribute its products globally, beginning with the Philippines.

The operator, which runs the high1 resort, expects gaming machines to become a major part of its business, with potential investment in the hundreds of millions of dollars, Andy Jeon Jongsun, deputy general manager of the EGM business and Raymond Choi, executive producer and general manager said during an interview at G2E Asia.

Kangwon Land’s resort is the only one in South Korea where locals are allowed to gamble and it makes more revenue than the other foreigner-only operators combined. The company is cash-rich with about $3 billion on hand.

“We just need to convince the directors it’s the right way to go and if they think the same way as we do there shouldn’t be a problem at all,” Choi said, referring to financing.

The executives said they expected to be ready for full-scale investment in about three years.

Jongsun explains that product development came about as the company had begun repairing its own machines because its remote mountainous location made servicing difficult. As a government-owned company, it also wanted to expand its business to provide more employment opportunities in the local community.

It now has 10 models, which can either be standalone or progressive.

“I’ve been doing this for 26 years. I worked for Aristocrat so I understand what it takes to succeed. Our games are very volatile and Asian players tend to like volatility. We’ve just given a bit more Korean flavour,” Choi says.

The machines are available on high1’s casino floor and in the next year will be deployed into other properties in South Korea and a major integrated resort in the Philippines, where the GLI-certified products already have approval from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.

The executives said the next step is to seek approval in Macau, though it is also eyeing Singapore and the U.S.

“We were in Vegas last year and we had quite a good feedback from casinos in the U.S,” it said.