26 Phil-lip Chun
CHAIRMAN AND CEO
CLAIMS TO FAME
• Son of Rak-won Chun, who founded Paradise Group in 1972
• Has 50% market share of Korea’s foreigners-only casino revenue
POWER SCORE 932 LAST YEAR 32
It’s been a frustrating year for Paradise Group. A year that should have signaled huge celebration for the company as it opened South Korea’s first integrated resort in April was instead overshadowed by a series of external events – most notably the THAAD missile crisis that has seen vital tourist numbers from China plummet since the start of the year.
For Korea’s foreigner-only casino operators – of which Paradise Group is the dominant player – such lack of visitation has been disastrous, with gaming revenue for each of the first two quarters of 2017 sitting around US$250 million, down from a peak of US$348 million in 3Q14.
Paradise alone saw gaming revenue fall 20.7% year-on-year for the first half of 2017 to KRW241.7 billion (US$210.3 million) on the back of a 21.6% decline in table game sales at its four foreigner-only casinos – despite Paradise City opening its doors on 28 April.
That should come as no surprise, says Union Gaming’s Managing Director and Head of Asia Equity Research, Grant Govertsen, given the enormous power China wields over Korea’s financial fortunes.
“The reality is that they are very dependent on Chinese customers and therefore are very leveraged to the goodwill of the PRC,” Govertsen said.
But it’s not all doom and gloom for Paradise, which remains well-placed to capitalize now that China has started to ease some restrictions and allow its citizens to return to its near neighbor.
Paradise City – located next to Incheon International Airport on Yeongjong Island – is by far Korea’s largest and most luxurious property, boasting a five-star hotel, convention center, hallyu- themed K-Plaza, indoor theme park, restaurants and a luxury spa. The gaming floor, with 160 tables, 385 electronic tables and 350 slot machines, also dwarfs any of the country’s other foreigner- only casinos.
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