South Korea’s largest casino operator, Paradise Co. is gearing up to support an expected influx of Chinese gamblers by expanding the floor space at several of its gaming establishments. The group said that it would spend $26 million on the expansion of three of its casinos, out of a property of five foreigners-only casinos. The group expects a growing number of middle-class Chinese gamblers to visit the casinos in the future, despite the fact that the Chinese government has declared a clamp down on its citizens visiting other shores for gambling purposes.
The Vice Chairman of Paradise Co., Lee Hyuk-Byung, gave an interview Bloomberg, saying: “If you visit our casinos, it isn’t full on weekdays, but on weekends from Friday afternoon to Sundays, it’s fully packed and very crowded.” He added that this crowding was impacting Paradise Co’s ability to provide all the gaming needs of its visitors, but by expanding the casino floor space, this will be possible.
The most significant change will be seen at Paradise Casino on Jeju, which will have its casino floor space doubled. All in all, Paradise Co. will add 26 new gaming tables to its properties, with the majority of them being baccarat, a game especially appealing to Chinese gambling visitors.
Regarding the Chinese government’s clampdown, an investor relations official for Paradise Co., Hyejeong Shim said that the group had not felt any negative repercussions. Ilwoo Yang, Samsung Securities analyst, said that he believed, in fact, that this new policy may actually be beneficial to Korea’s gaming market predicted and that the Chinese government’s policy was unlikely to seriously impact those markets that targeted Chinese gamblers.
Yang said: “Korean casinos may actually benefit, as their success at attracting Chinese punters appears to be due to Korea’s proximity to China, not marketing capabilities.”
Casinos in Macau, however, are definitely feeling the impact, with casinos reporting on their eighth monthly revenue decrease in a row. VIP tables in Macau are less frequented than before, due to the Chinese government’s campaigns, which have naturally led to nearby markets such as South Korea ramping up their promotions in a bid to attract these highrollers.
Australia has also noted growing business at its Crown Resorts and Echo Entertainment Group properties with VIP gambling at a record high. Even with its Macau properties showing a drop in revenue, Crown Resorts saw its share prices jump 10% overall.
“There’s no doubt been some diversion from Macau,” said Crown Chief Executive Officer Rowen Craigie. “You don’t want to over-emphasize that but clearly those more distant destinations have benefited.”