Gambling sales at South Korea’s foreigner-only casinos rose 15.9 percent year-on-year in the first two months of the year, reported Yonhap news agency, citing data from the Korea Casino Association.
Such sales in January and February reached KRW204.78 billion (US$190.7 million).
The increase coincided with an average 4.6 percent rise across the first two months of 2018 in the aggregate number of Japanese visitors to South Korea’s 16 foreigner-only casinos, according to the report.
Japan is currently in the process of trying to establish its own casino industry, a fact that some investment analysts have said could – upon fruition – negatively affect South Korea’s industry.
The number of all visitors to South Korean foreigner-only casinos increased 1.6 percent in the first two months of this year to 366,000, according to the association.
The number of Taiwanese visitors to such casinos fell 16.7 percent year-on-year in January, but rose 32.3 percent in February.
But the tally of mainland Chinese visiting those venues fell an average of 4.2 percent year-on-year across the first two months of 2018, show the data quoted by the report.
According to South Korean media, China had imposed a ban on South Korea-bound group tours as of the autumn of 2016, in retaliation for South Korea’s decision to install the U.S.-supplied Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system close to Chinese territory as a counter to North Korean missile tests. China has never acknowledged the existence of such a ban.
Foreigner-only operator Paradise Co Ltd announced in January that for full-year 2017 its casino revenue declined by 8.6 percent year-on-year.
Its market rival Grand Korea Leisure Co Ltd said in a February filing that in the twelve months to December 31, it recorded aggregate revenue also 8.6 percent lower than that in the prior-year period.
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Chairman and CEO of MGM Resorts International