CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
POWER SCORE: 698
POSITION LAST YEAR: 39
CLAIMS TO FAME
- Former Governor of North Gyeongsang Province
- Former 2nd Vice Minister of the Ministry of Public Administration and Security
SINCE HIS APPOINTMENT as Kangwon Land’s new CEO in March 2021, former 2nd Vice Minister of the Ministry of Public Administration and Security Lee Sam-geol hasn’t yet had the opportunity to witness Korea’s only casino for locals in full swing.
But all indications are that he won’t have to wait much longer. The remote property returned to profit for the first time in a year in 2Q22, with gross gaming revenue up 51.5% year-on-year and 45.0% sequentially to KRW308.8 billion (US$237 million) – driven by strength in the mass gaming segment.
While foot traffic remains some way below 2019 levels, JP Morgan analysts DS Kim and Livy Lyu noted that drop amount had rebounded more strongly, indicating “a meaningful uplift in spending per player.
“We think this is very encouraging, especially for a capacity-constrained casino like Kangwon Land,” they said, adding that Kangwon Land looks set to surpass 2019 GGR in the near future “given how fast demand has recovered since easing of COVID-related curbs.
That’s good news for Lee, who has been tasked with overseeing a casino whose primary purpose is to fund government support of the local area.
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.
Supporting that pursuit, national government officials recently rejected calls to permit locals gaming in some other parts of the country like Jeju, while the property’s casino license has also been extended for 20 years until 2045.
For the full list of 2022 Asian Gaming Power 50 winners, click here.