Scientific Game

2017 Inside Asian Gaming Power 50: Number 48 - Lee Ki-woo

Monday, 04 December 2017 20:45
Visit us

48 Lee Ki-woo

Grand Korea Leisure



• Runs one of Korea’s leading operators of foreigners-only casinos
• Previously served at the Korean Consulate General in Canada and the Korean Embassy in the US

Exactly what the future holds for the government-affiliated Grand Korea Leisure (GKL) is open to debate, but there is no doubt the wind has been knocked out of its sails over the past two years.

A subsidiary of the Korea National Tourism Organization, GKL was established in 2005 to promote tourism and raise funds, opening a number of foreigners-only casinos under its Seven Luck brand. For the most part the plan has worked, with GKL one of two companies – alongside Paradise Group – to dominate market share with around 90% between them.

But cracks began to appear in 2015 when six GKL employees were arrested in China for allegedly marketing the company’s casino operations to Chinese gamblers. While Paradise was also caught up in the scandal, the fact that GKL has government ties didn’t sit well with their primary market.

How much this impacted the company’s decision not to bid for one of two new licenses issued last year for integrated resorts in Incheon is unknown.

It does, however, suggest its gaming ambitions are limited. For Lee Ki-woo, who took over from Lim Byoung-soo as GKL’s President and CEO shortly after the 2015 arrests, his time in the top job has been anything but smooth. And if he had hoped for a better run in 2017, the THAAD missile crisis quickly put paid to that with GKL’s revenue by the middle of the year declining 11.5% and profit 37% on 2016 numbers.

To return to the full list of 2017 Asian Gaming Power 50 winners, click here.

Current Issue

MGM “all-in” on Cotai

MGM “all-in” on Cotai Almost five years to the day since MGM first broke ground on its second Macau integrated resort, MGM Cotai finally opened its doors to the public on 13 February with the US$3.4 billion investment pinning its future on the premium mass market and an array of innovative features. By Ben Blaschke “... Tuesday, 27 February 2018 14:50

European vacation

European vacation Novomatic is targeting both the US and Asian markets with its recent acquisition of a 52% stake in Australian slot machine developer Ainsworth Game Technology.By Ben Blaschke WHEN Austrian gaming giant Novomatic Group confirmed the completion of its AU$500 million purchase of a 52.2% stake in Austra... Tuesday, 27 February 2018 14:48

Problem solving

Problem solving Inside Asian Gaming speaks with Davis Fong, Associate Professor in International Integrated Resort Management and Director of Institute for the Study of Commercial Gaming at the University of Macau’s Faculty of Business Administration, about the extent of gambling disorders in the Asian gaming hub... Tuesday, 27 February 2018 14:44

Gaming and the nine intelligences

Gaming and the nine intelligences Sudhir Kale explores the nine types of intelligence as defined by Harvard psychologist Howard Gardner and how they apply to the gaming industry.  DURING my decades of involvement in the gaming industry, I have had the pleasure of knowing many senior executives from all over the world. They are all... Tuesday, 27 February 2018 14:40