South Korean casino targets wealthy Chinese

South Korean casino targets wealthy Chinese

SEOUL - Grand Korea Leisure Co. (GKL), the South Korean operator of a casino business for foreign tourists, will beef up its marketing activities to attract China's wealthy customers, company officials said Friday.

GKL, which operates three casinos in Seoul and Busan under the brand name Seven Luck, has increased the number of marketing personnel for Chinese VIP gamblers, or high rollers, from 29 to 60.

In the fourth quarter of last year, GKL saw the drop amount, which is the total amount of money and markers wagered, exceed 1 trillion won (S$1.1 billion) for the first time.

The drop amount from Chinese visitors was estimated to climb 80.2 per cent on-year to 392.8 billion won (S$447.7 million), accounting for 36.7 per cent of the casino's total drop.

The company officials expected GKL will continue to see an increase in the drop amount, backed by strengthened Chinese marketing capabilities.

Spearheaded by the Chinese tourists, Asia's casino industry has been rapidly growing.

According to professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, Asia will edge out the United States as the world's biggest regional casino market by 2015.

The firm predicted that the Asia-Pacific gambling market will more than double to US$79.3 billion (S$98 billion) in 2015 from $34.3 billion (S$42.4 billion) in 2010.

The US gambling market is estimated to grow to $73.3 billion (S$90.6 billion) from $57.5 billion (S$71.1 billion) during the same period.

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