SEOUL, April 5 (Yonhap) -- Casino operators in South Korea chalked up huge losses in 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic sent the number of visitors plunging, data showed Monday.
State-run casino operator Kangwon Land Inc. registered an operating loss of 431.6 billion won (US$382 million) last year, a sharp turnaround from an operating profit of 501.2 billion won a year earlier.
Kangwon Land, the country's only casino open to locals, is located in Jeongseon, some 200 kilometers east of Seoul.
Another state-run casino operator, Grand Korea Leisure Co. (GKL), posted an operating loss of 88.8 billion won, compared with an operating profit of 96.8 billion won.
The company operates three foreigner-only casinos in Seoul and Busan under the brand name Seven Luck.
Private casino operator Paradise Group also swung to an operating loss of 86.2 billion won in 2020 from an operating profit of 51.9 billion won. Paradise runs four casinos in Seoul, Incheon, Jeju and Busan.
The casino operators' large losses came as coronavirus-induced social distancing measures forced them to temporarily shut down their sites repeatedly.
Last year, Kangwon Land's sales tumbled 68.5 percent on-year to 478.6 billion won, with those of GKL dipping 62.4 percent to 184.5 billion won. Paradise's top line also tanked 53.7 percent to 453.9 billion won.
Stung by the pandemic, those casino companies also had to cut their headcounts, with Kangwon Land alone reducing its workforce of 3,713 by nearly 28 percent.