Grand Korea Leisure Co Ltd (GKL), an operator in South Korea of foreigner-only casinos, told GGRAsia on Wednesday that its gaming business had been “gradually improving” in August.
The timing coincides with a visa-free entry scheme for holders either of Japan-, Macau-, or Taiwan-issued passports. The scheme had been due to run from August 4 to 31, but on Wednesday the South Korea authorities said it would be extended to October 31, reported Yonhap News Agency.
Yonhap said on Wednesday – citing the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism but without mentioning a base number – that as a result of the visa-free programme, the daily average of tourists from Japan and Taiwan in August up to the 21st of the month, increased by about 97 percent from July.
The Grand Korea Leisure spokesperson noted to GGRAsia however that the firm had “not seen a business surge via that visa-free scheme in August”.
Nonetheless, the general direction of South Korea entry policy is currently toward easing rules.
The country’s Central Disease Control Headquarters said on Wednesday that from Saturday (September 3), travellers would no longer need a ‘negative’ Covid-19 test certificate simply to board an inbound flight or vessel.
Visitors will still need to take a test within 24 hours of arrival in the country, and will still need to quarantine for seven days if they test ‘positive’.
In other matters, Grand Korea Leisure confirmed on Wednesday that relocation work had started regarding a new home for one of its two casinos in the South Korean capital, Seoul.
The Seven Luck-branded venue currently at the Millennium Seoul Hilton hotel in Gangbuk (pictured in a file photo), is to transfer operation to Seoul Dragon City in Yongsan, another part of Seoul. The deal for that was confirmed in December, via a filing by the casino firm to the Korea Exchange.
Grand Korea Leisure’s current lease contract at the Millennium Seoul Hilton will expire on December 31. The casino company’s new lease at Seoul Dragon City runs from January 1, 2023, to August 15, 2032.
Seoul Dragon City currently hosts four hotel brands: Grand Mercure, ibis Styles, Novotel, and Novotel Suites, offering 1,700 rooms in total.
Grand Korea Leisure – a subsidiary of the Korea Tourism Organization – also runs a casino at Gangnam in Seoul, and one at Busan in the south of the country.
July casino sales at Grand Korea Leisure rose 17.0 percent month-on-month, to KRW28.61 billion (US$21.3 million at current rates), the firm had said in an August 3 filing. Judged year-on-year, it was a 278.0-percent improvement.
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