South Korea Casino Revenue for 2023 Sees Huge Improvement

The South Korean casino industry experienced a significant increase in gambling revenue in 2023, marking a 40.7% rise from the previous year. The total revenue reached just under KRW2.73 trillion (approximately US$1.98 billion), up from KRW1.94 trillion (US$1.4 billion) in 2022.

A view of the Kangwon Land Casino in South Korea from the air. (Source: Kangwon Land)

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This data, provided by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, reflects the financial outcomes of the country's 16 foreigner-only casinos. It also includes Kangwon Land, the sole casino where local residents are permitted to gamble.

Notably, the year 2023's revenue figures represent a substantial recovery from the impact of the global pandemic, achieving a 93.1% return to the pre-pandemic revenue levels of just over KRW2.93 trillion (US$2.12 billion) recorded in 2019. The foreigner-only casinos, in particular, saw an impressive surge in revenue, with a year-on-year increase of around 96.6%, reaching KRW1.41 trillion (US$1.02 billion) from KRW714.5 billion (US$517 million) a year earlier. Kangwon Land also reported a revenue increase, with a 7.9% rise to about KRW1.32 trillion (US$965 million) from KRW1.22 trillion (US$883.6 million) in 2022.

The recovery of the gambling revenue is further evidenced by the number of visitor arrivals to the casinos in 2023. This figure stood at nearly 4.48 million, marking a 40.5% increase from the 3.19 million visits in 2022.

The foreigner-only casinos were responsible for 46.1% of all casino visits last year, totaling just under 2.07 million. These statistics suggest a robust resurgence of the casino industry in South Korea, with both revenue and visitation numbers approaching the levels seen before the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Breaking Down the Numbers

It's important to note that the government's data include deductions for items such as bad debt, certain allowances and commissions. This accounting practice may result in figures that differ slightly from those reported by the casino operators.

For instance, Paradise Co Ltd, a foreigner-only casino operator, reported a 113% year-on-year gaming revenue increase, to KRW744.6 billion (US$539.31 million), compared to KRW349.5 billion (US$253.14 million) a year earlier. Similarly, Grand Korea Leisure Co Ltd, another major operator, reported a 49.8% increase in gaming revenue to KRW397.4 billion (US$287.83 million) in 2023, up from KRW265.2 billion (US$192 million) in the preceding year.

The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism's report on the casino industry's performance in 2023 provides a clear indication of the sector's recovery and growth. The significant rise in gambling revenue not only highlights the industry's resilience but also its potential for future expansion. Mohegan Inspire Entertainment Resort in Incheon opened its casino this past February, and it's expected to add considerable growth to the country's gaming revenue.


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