POWER SCORE: 911
POSITION LAST YEAR: 30
CLAIMS TO FAME
• Paradise City, Korea’s first US$1 billion-plus integrated resort, turning consistently profitable in third year of operation
• Leads foreigner-only casino market with locations in Seoul, Incheon, Busan and Jeju
Opened into the teeth of a Sino-Korean diplomatic row in April 2017, Paradise City seems set to string together profitable quarters for the first time. Insiders say the IR, a 55%-45% joint venture with Japanese gaming manufacturer Sega Sammy, is very much a personal project of Chairman Phillip Chun, successor to his father, Paradise founder Rak-won Chun. The company line says Paradise wants Caesars and Mohegan Sun to open their Incheon IRs as soon as possible, but Paradise City is finally hay with its current monopoly on the doorstep of Korea’s gateway airport.
JPMorgan analyst DS Kim raised his rating on Paradise’s Korea traded shares to neutral in September, following strong group growth in VIP volume from China and pace-setting Japan – seemingly unaffected by bilateral diplomatic woes – and expanding mass. Kim sees Paradise City becoming steadily profitable after surpassing Walker Hill casino in Seoul for the group’s highest gaming volume and revenue this year, growing at 46% and 62% respectively from a year earlier with no signs of cannibalization.
Paradise casinos in Busan and Jeju grew gaming revenue a combined 24% in the first half of this year, giving Paradise an estimated 54% share of Korea’s foreigner-only casino market.
For the full list of 2019 Asian Gaming Power 50 winners, click here.