First-quarter net income at Grand Korea Leisure Ltd (GKL), a South Korean operator of foreigner-only casinos, rose by 68.3 percent year-on-year, to just under KRW14.72 billion (US$12.1 million), compared to KRW8.74 billion in the prior-year period.
First-quarter sales at GKL increased by 2.1 percent year on-year to slightly above KRW111.5 billion, the firm said in a Friday filing to the Korea Exchange. Such increase was despite a pause in its gaming operations in late March, as part of efforts to contain the further spread of the Covid-19 pandemic in the country.
The company reported operating profit of KRW26.92 billion for the three months ended March 31, up 58.5 percent from the prior-year period.
GKL is a subsidiary of the Korea Tourism Organization, which in turn is affiliated to South Korea’s Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism. The casino-operating entity runs three foreigner-only casinos in South Korea under the Seven Luck brand: two in the capital Seoul and one in the southern port city of Busan.
In March alone, casino revenue at the properties run by GKL fell by 72.0 percent year-on-year, according to an April statement. GKL’s accumulated casino sales for the first quarter of 2020 were KRW110.23 billion, an improvement of 1.8 percent.
GKL temporarily suspended on March 24 its casino sites for an initial two weeks, in line with the country’s effort at curbing the further spread of the coronavirus. Such closure had been extended twice, and gaming operations resumed on May 6, after a 43-day casino shutdown.
The resumption coincides with moves in South Korea starting on May 6 to ease some of the so-called social distancing measures that had been in force since early March. The decision to ease the rules was made amid a slowdown in the number of new Covid-19 infection cases, the South Korean news agency Yonhap reported.
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Luiz Lam Kai Kuong
Macau junket investor