The kick-off of South Korea’s first casino resort didn’t go as expected due to the very few Chinese gamblers who attended the grand opening. This was as a result of a diplomatic friction regarding an anti-North Korea missile defense, resulting in a ban on Chinese traveling to South Korea.
There has been a significant drop (39% from a year earlier) in Chinese visitors to South Korea after it secured land for its missile system in February. Chinese authorities then issued a directive to tourist agents to suspend travel to the neighboring country.
Resort complex Paradise City, which is run by the biggest South Korean casino operator Paradise Co Ltd and Japanese slot machine manufacturer Sega Sammy Holdings Inc, is located only 329 km across the Yellow Sea from China.
Reacting to the negative circumstances, the companies will attempt to target players from Japan and Southeast Asia.
According to Paradise officials, many wealthy Chinese gamblers have multiple citizenships so they can overcome the diplomatic ban.
In the meantime, gaming revenue in Macau, China’s only legal casino hub, increased 18% in March.