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COVID-19 Causes South Korean Casinos To Close Again

Locals-Only Casino Extends Second Closure Until At Least September 21

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South Korean casinos are closing its doors again as the country continues to deal with the spread of COVID-19.

Kangwon Land, the only casino that allows South Korean natives on its gaming floor, announced Friday that it will extend its closure until at least September 21. The property closed at the end of February and reopened July 20 but shuttered again on August 23 as the country began a second wave of cases. It was originally scheduled to reopen Monday.

For the month that the property was open, it reported a 75 percent year-over-year drop in gross gaming revenue. According to estimates, the second closure will cost the company the equivalent of $30.6 million.

On Monday, the country reported 119 new cases of COVID-19. Since August 14, the country has seen 100 or more new cases every day.

Paradise Co Ltd., the owner of the four South Korean casinos that only allow foreigners to gamble, has decided to take similar steps with one of its properties. It announced Monday that Paradise City, a casino in Incheon, will shut down its gambling operations indefinitely after six employees tested positive for the virus last week.

Currently, the entire property is closed to the public, but its non-gaming activities will reopen Wednesday. It originally closed for three days after the first employee tested positive, but the company continued to extend the closure as more employees received a positive diagnosis.

“During the suspension period, we will do our best to prevent the spread of infection by expanding the scope of inspection as well as conducting thorough disinfection and precise quarantine for the entire facility including the relevant business site in close consultation with the quarantine authorities,” the company said in a statement.

The foreigner-only casinos were closed in March before reopening in mid-April. The other three foreigner-only properties, Busan Casino, Jeju Grand and Paradise Walkerhill are still open.

Prior to this latest outbreak, South Korea’s response to the pandemic was hailed by many as a success. On August 10, the University of Denver released a study that said “The government of South Korea has been able to keep the disease under control without paralyzing the national health and economic systems.”