INTERIM CHAIRMAN, CEO
POWER SCORE: 732
POSITION LAST YEAR: 37
CLAIMS TO FAME
- Returned profit growth to Korea’s only casino for local players
- Joined Kangwon Land from government’s Bureau of Audit that formulated measures to limit casino’s revenue.
- Promoted to interim Chairman after two years as CEO
Rewind to January and Moon Taegon was living on the sunny side of the street. Recently appointed interim Chairman of South Korean casino operator Kangwon Land, the company was in the midst of a solid comeback in the wake of some past regulatory challenges, capping a solid record since he first took over as CEO in late 2017.
In February, the only casino in Korea at which locals are allowed to gamble reported a 12.7% year-on-year increase in net profit to KRW335.1 billion (US$292 million) for FY2019, despite a 2.4% fall in casino sales which was offset by a 100% increase in revenue from water-based theme park Water World.
Then, just a couple of weeks after the results were unveiled, the company put in place a timid 24-hour closure to help control COVID-19. It didn’t open again until 8 May for VIP guests and 20 July for main gaming floor players. On 23 August, a second wave of the virus forced Kangwon Land to close again.
As a government-owned entity, Kangwon Land faces perhaps greater scrutiny than any of the nation’s foreigner-only casinos, and Moon, who previously worked for the government’s Bureau of Audit, understands better than most the challenges this can bring. At time of writing, the casino’s latest closure period has been extended for a fourth time with no clear indication of when its doors will open again.
But at least when it does, Kangwon Land can look forward to more breathing room: in May the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism extended Kangwon Land Co Ltd’s casino license for three more years and with it granted permission to extend its operating hours and open more gaming tables on the usually crowded mass gaming floor.
For the full list of 2020 Asian Gaming Power 50 winners, click here.