South Korea’s Ministry of Economy and Finance says that Grand Korea Leisure Co Ltd (GKL) – a publicly-owned operator of foreigner-only casinos in that country – is to reduce the size of its China marketing team, and reduce by one-third, the number of its liaison offices in Japan. There, it will run four, rather than six as previously.
The statement did not mention how many China marketing staff Grand Korea Leisure had been using, or how many it would be left with.
Grand Korea Leisure is a subsidiary of the Korea Tourism Organization, which in turn is affiliated to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.
The Ministry of Economy and Finance said on its release, that some operational streamlining would be applied for 40 public firms involved in foreign business – including Grand Korea Leisure – for “efficiency” reasons, due to “a lack of business and demand” for their services.
In the case of Grand Korea Leisure, the announcement mentioned specifically “the Greater China market’s prolonged slump”.
Even before the pandemic, China had been pursuing a crackdown against “cross-border gambling” by its citizens.
Though Grand Korea Leisure cited in comments to GGRAsia, that the long-standing disruption to China outbound tourism due to the Covid-19 pandemic, had been a factor in reducing the China marketing team.
The firm said it needed to assess how China’s outbound travel situation developed, before deciding on the extent of China marketing cuts.
Regarding Japan, Grand Korea Leisure told GGRAsia that it had closed its Hiroshima and Sapporo offices from March 2022, and that they “will not reopen”. By contrast, the firm had been expanding activities in Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya and Fukuoka since this October, it added.
Grand Korea Leisure returned to profit in the third quarter, with sequential growth seen in the firm’s casino net sales and gambling visitors.
The company runs three foreigner-only Seven Luck-branded casinos: two in the capital Seoul, including in Gangnam (pictured), and one in the southeastern port city of Busan.
The group is due to close on December 30 its Seoul Gangbuk venue in the Millennium Hilton Hotel, and transfer the gaming operation to Seoul Dragon City, from December 31.
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