Foreigner-only casinos record sales growth in first two months of 2018

Korea’s foreigner-only casinos are finally seeing an uptick in sales after a dip last year as a result of tensions between China and South Korea, local media reports.

According to industry data released by the Korea Casino Association on Monday, sales in January and February reached KRW204.8 billion (US$191.6 million), representing an increase of 15.9 percent from the same period last year.

The data also showed an increase in the number of visitors to the nation’s 16 foreigner-only casinos, up 1.6 percent in the first two months of the year to 366,000 - due mainly to increased visitors from Japan.

The number of Chinese visitors however continued to decline, with a fall of 3.2 percent in January and 5.2 percent in February.

"Chinese visitors are still the biggest group of customers at foreigners-only casinos, but their number continues to fall," a casino industry official said. "We are seeing a turnaround this year, thanks to a steady increase of tourists from Japan."

The number of visitors from Taiwan also fell 16.7 percent in January but increased 32.3 percent in February, according to the data.

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