South Korean casinos get grace period on payment of tourism fees

The country’s casino industry has been deeply affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The country’s casino industry has been deeply affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Authorities have allowed two casinos extra time for payment of this year’s Tourism Promotion and Development Fund fees.

South Korea.- Casinos in South Korea have been allowed to delay the payment of some Tourism Promotion and Development Fund fees until June 2022 due to the difficulties the industry continues to face due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The news is a relief for South Korean casinos that have faced a lack of tourists through most of 2020 and 2021.

A representative at the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the agency responsible for collecting the fees from casino operators said the grace period had been approved for “two casino entities”, but didn’t name them. It’s since emerged that the operators in question are Paradise Co Ltd; and Grand Korea Leisure Co Ltd.

Travel fund fees are usually paid by the casino operator in June and September of any given trading year in two instalments. The grace period applies to fees that should have been paid in June and September of this year.

There are conditions involved. Sales including those calculated between March and August, before the usual September deadline for payment of the travel promotion instalment payment-must be less than 50 per cent of the equivalent six-month period a year earlier.

In 2020, Paradise Co paid KRW31.4bn (US$26.6m) in Tourism Promotion and Development Fund fees while Grand Korea Leisure paid KRW16.98bn.

South Korean casinos report turnover of US$409.1m for H1

The Korea Casino Association (KCA) reported that gambling turnover for the first half of the year was KRW480.45bn (US$409.1m), compared to KRW1.04tn in 2020. Some 619,221 people visited South Korean casinos in the first half, compared to 1.76m in 2020 and 6.13m in in 2019.

South Korea’s casino industry has experienced a major impact due the Covid-19 pandemic as 16 of the country’s 17 casinos are foreigner-only venues. Venues have been required to reduce operational capabilities and some have closed for periods.

In the first half of this year, the total gaming sales of the 16 foreign-only casinos in South Korea came to KRW178.29bn while the full-year sales in 2020 were KRW597.8bn. 

In the first half of 2021, the total number of visits to foreigner-only casinos was 332,610. For the whole year of 2020, the total was 1,157,698 and in 2019, the number of visits to these 16 casinos reached 3,233,761.

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