Paradise Co Ltd, one of the South Korean operators of foreigner-only casinos in that country, on Thursday told GGRAsia that it was “not yet considering” closing its venues for business against the backdrop of a spike of coronavirus infections in that nation.
As of Friday morning, the South Korean authorities had recorded more than 256 new cases of the novel coronavirus that day, taking the total number of infections in that country to more than 2,000, reported Yonhap news agency. The country now has the second-highest number of cases in the world. It has so far recorded 13 deaths from Covid-19, an illness caused by a newly-classified virus that was first noticed by doctors in Hubei province, mainland China.
More than 50 countries are now restricting the entry of travellers from South Korea with bans or tougher quarantine procedures due to the Covid-19 outbreak in that country, according to data from the South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The bulk of the new cases announced on Friday were in Daegu, 300 kilometres (186 miles) southeast of Seoul, and in the neighbouring North Gyeongsang province.
Paradise Co’s gaming operations are at: Walkerhill in Seoul (pictured); Jeju Grand on Jeju Island; Busan Casino in the southern port city of Busan; and Paradise City, in Incheon, near the main international airport serving the country’s capital Seoul.
On Friday, Kangwon Land Inc – the only firm in the country that is allowed to run a casino catering for South Korean nationals – said it was further extending - until March 9 - the shuttering of its gaming venue at the Kangwon Land resort in Gangwon province, which is 150 kilometres from Seoul by road.
Kangwon Land Inc – which does not run a 24-hour gaming operation – had originally announced a temporary closure from noon on February 23, until 6am on February 26, and then an initial extension of the closure until 6am on February 29. The shutdown was described as a precautionary measure related to an outbreak of Covid-19 infections in that country.
But the Kangwon Land company – which although listed on the Korea Exchange is subject to significant oversight by the country’s government – did not clarify in its Friday update whether it had been ordered to shut by the national authorities, or was doing so voluntarily.
A Paradise Co spokesperson said in the firm’s Thursday response to GGRAsia: “As the government has issued its highest alert level, all casino guests entering Paradise casinos should wear masks.”
The spokesperson added: “All staff had already been ordered to wear masks while working, since the government raised the alert level at end of January.”
The person further stated: “The company is also trying to reduce risk of spreading virus by thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting venues.”
GGRAsia also asked Grand Korea Leisure Co Ltd, another operator of foreigner-only casinos in South Korea, whether it had any plans to shutter venues. We had not received a reply by the time this story went online.
Grand Korea Leisure runs three foreigners-only casinos in South Korea, under the ‘Seven Luck’ brand. Two properties are located in the South Korean capital Seoul, while the other is in the southern port city of Busan, a popular tourism destination.
Some casinos in South Korea had – from late January – been banning the entry of Chinese package tour groups, in an effort aimed at preventing the spread of the novel coronavirus, an industry source had confirmed to GGRAsia earlier this month.
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