South Korea’s Kangwon Land To Reopen

South Korea’s largest casino will reopen to the public today (Friday) after a pandemic-related closure of nearly 11 weeks.

Kangwon Land casino, the only South Korean casino where local residents can play, announced on Thursday that it would reopen part of its bid to the public at midday on Friday, May 8. That’s three days earlier than the company expected late last month when it released the seventh shutdown extension order for the land.

On 23 February Kangwon Land shut down its doors to prevent further COVID-19 coronavirus spread. One month later, its two major foreign-only casino competitors – Grand Korea Leisure and Paradise Co Ltd – followed suit. Paradise resumed its operations in April, while GKL just this week announced it would resume its business.

Having slowed to a trickle with South Korea’s COVID-19 new infection rate, Kangwon Land apparently thinks it is time to get back to earning. Earlier this week, the company reported that its missed sales opportunity will likely exceed KRW286.8b (US$ 233.7 m), based on the average daily sales for 2019, but now says the three-day advance opening is likely to reduce that to KRW267.8b, so, er, hooray.

The share price of Kangwon Land currently stands at KRW24,550 ($20.14), around 20 percent below the point at which it began the year. That’s a decent sight, though, better than the KRW16,250 low it sunk to on March 23, a month after its initial order to close.

This is not because the competitors of Kangwon land got off any easier. Despite being first out of the reopening doors, Paradise said Thursday that its April gaming revenue amounted to just KRW7.93b ($6.5 m), down 86% year-on-year, and down 57.8% from March 2020.

Small wonder, then, that flagship Paradise property Paradise City is planning to hold a ‘Healing Concert’ on Saturday. Technically speaking, it is a concert performed by artists with disabilities, but the entire country — including its gaming sector — would really use the calming power of music right now.