Jeju Dream Tower casino set to open in March

by Charlotte Lee Last Updated
Jeju Dream Tower casino set to open in March

A new South Korean casino is set to launch in March, according to Asgam.

Korean-based tourism company Lotte Tour Development could launch operations at Jeju Dream Tower soon than forecast, as it is planning to apply for a permit before the end of this month to relocate its current foreigner only casino from the Lotte Hotel Jeju to Jeju Dream Tower, the $1.4 billion development that opened on December 18, 2020.

Pending completion of a Casino Impact Study Assessment and approval from local authorities, the goal is to open the new casino in March.

The relocation would expand the company’s current gaming space by almost five times to more than 5000 square metres and see its five gaming tables and 51 machines rise to 150 tables and 300 machines.

The tallest building in Jeju at 38 floors or 169 metres high, Jeju Dream Tower already features a retail mall, 14 restaurants and bars, an outdoor pool deck, top floor skydeck with lounge, two spas and a hotel.

The opening of Jeju Dream Tower last month came some 40 years after the 75-acre site upon which it sits was first purchased by Lotte Tour predecessor Dongwha Investment and Development Co in 1980.

Excavation work began in 1984 but was halted due to lack of funding.

The project was eventually resurrected in 2008 and construction resumed in May 2016 following alterations to the design.

Foreigner-only casino in South Korea reports big losses 

A South Korean casino operator has recorded a 72 per cent year-on-year sales slump, but a nine per cent rise in September.

Asgam reported inNovember that foreigner-only casino operator Paradise Co reported a US$18 million decline in table game sales and US$1.6 million fall in poker machine sales, with global border closures as a result of the coronavirus pandemic hurting the company’s access to foreign customers.

Local expats have previously been credited for bringing in a small but steady stream of business to its four casinos – Paradise City, Paradise Walkerhill, Busan Casino and Jeju Grand.

All four briefly closed in late March with Jeju Grand reopening on April 13 and the remaining three on April 20.

Paradise City, the company’s integrated resort project in Incheon, also closed its doors in early September after some staff members tested positive to COVID-19, although the casino and some non-gaming amenities were open again within days.

While casino sales grew in October compared with the previous month, table drop actually fell by 7.7 per cent to US$110.6 million suggesting good luck played its part in providing a sequential increase.

Through the first 10 months of 2020, Paradise Co’s casino sales are down 56.3 per cent to US$249.7 million.

Losses grow at South Korean casinos

Casino revenue losses are piling up thanks to shutdowns related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Calvin Ayre reported in August that while some casinos are starting to report gains, many are still in the red.

South Korean casino operators Paradise Co and Kangwon Land fall into the latter category.

Kangwon Land’s casino in South Korea is still feeling considerable pressure, reporting a loss of $38.4 million for the second quarter of the year.

This follows a loss of $131.68 million from the first quarter, completing wiping out its $42.97 million profit from the second quarter of 2019.

The Kangwon Land casino is the only property that has been approved for local gamblers and was forced to shut down from February 23 to May 8 because of COVID-19.

When it opened, the casino only welcomed back VIP gamblers at first.

Gross gaming revenue for the second quarter plummeted 91.4 per cent year-on-year and 85.9 per cent quarter-over-quarter.

The figure stood at $23.88 million, with total sales at the venue dropping 90.5 per cent to $29.22 million.

As a result of the continued weak performance, Kangwon Land saw a 63.5 per cent drop in sales across the entire first half of the year, reporting an aggregate loss of $170.1 million.

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