On May 5, 2015 it was revealed in a Reuters article that Seoul foreigner-only casinos have started targeting low-roller gamblers, particularly Chinese shoppers. The casino operators are doing this by offering free rice cookers. They have also provided Apple iPads as giveaway prizes for those out on the gambling floor. South Korean casinos have stated they are trying to increase Chinese tourism into a “build trade” as well as competing with other Asian locations with regards to “whales” or high roller gamblers.
Paradise Walkerhill Casino, a part of Paradise Co Ltd, has said they do look for high rollers as well. They are not going to send away high rollers, but South Korean casinos do not want to rely on junket operators or promotions that would attract VIPs.
One high roller is quoted in the article as saying of Paradise Walker Hill, “It’s smaller than Macau. The service is pretty good, but he looked more for the shopping” aspect.
South Korea expects Chinese visitors to increase after a 50% surge last year. Many goods like cosmetics are drawing Chinese tourists. Since shopping is a main attraction the casinos are trying to attract visitors that will spend money on goods as well as gambling. They would like a slice of the $10 billion Chinese visitors paid out in 2014.
Paradise is also trying to increase their floor space to house more casino and shopping by 15%. VIPs did help Macau become a gambling paradise so South Korea is also going to target them, but they are betting only a little more than gaining mass customers stated an analyst for Kyobo Securities, Chung Yoo-Seok.
The trend toward attracting “bread and butter” mainland China customers is also being seen in the cruise ship industry. First and foremost the focus there is on providing shopping opportunities on board and in ports of call, followed by an awareness of Chinese customers’ increasing desire to find quality gaming opportunities on the ships.