Kangwon Land, the only casino in South Korea at which locals are permitted to gamble, reported its best quarterly result since 2019 in 3Q21, with easing COVID-19 restrictions helping push gross gaming revenue to KRW235.9 billion (US$207 million).
Q3’s GGR figure represented a 272% year-on-year increase and a 16% improvement over the June 2021 quarter, led by main gaming floor play – mass tables booked a 762% year-on-year increase to KRW92.6 billion (US$79 million) and gaming machines 372% to KRW91.2 billion (US$78 million), while membership club GGR grew by a more modest 56.5% to KRW52.1 billion (US$44 million).
The result was, however, still well down on 4Q19 – the last full quarter before the COVID-19 pandemic struck – when GGR at Kangwon Land was KRW366.4 billion (US$312 million).
Non-gaming revenue was KRW32.3 billion (US$27 million) in 3Q21, up 82% year-on-year and 63% sequentially, with profit of KRW20.4 billion (US$17 million) reversing a loss of KRW40.9 billion (US$35 million) recorded in 3Q20.
Kangwon Land’s improved performance comes after the South Korea government recently ratified a 20-year extension to its casino license until 2045 in return for an increase in the effective tax rate.
Located 150 kilometers (93 miles) from Seoul, Kangwon Land was borne out of Korea’s conversion to gas and oil for energy, leading to the closure of mines in Gangwon province in 1989.
Legislation in 1995 encouraged redevelopment of abandoned mining areas, prompting local, provincial and national authorities to found Kangwon Land Inc, which is 51% government owned and overseen by the national Ministry of Knowledge Economy.