South Korea casinos given 12-month sales tax reprieve

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South Korea casinos given 12-month sales tax reprieve

South Korean casino operators will be able to postpone sales tax payments for at least 12 more months, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has announced.

In light of ongoing Covid-19 restrictions, amendments were made to the country’s Tourism Promotion Act Enforcement Decree, to assist operators that were not financially secure enough to resume payments.

“You have to pay the payment in June and September, but if the damage is severe due to the decrease in sales, the payment deadline is deferred through deliberation,” an official stated.

Casinos sales are normally taxed at around 10%, and payments are required to be made every six months – in June and September – to the Tourism Promotion Development Fund.

In 2019, the last comparable year of full operation, sales taxes generated by South Korea’s 17 casinos totalled around KRW284.9bn ($251m). As has been the case around the globe, these operations saw marked downturns in 2020. The nation’s 16 foreigner-only gaming locations reported a 59% year-on-year drop in revenue in 2020, with figures falling from KRW1.45tn to KRW598.3bn.

Meanwhile Kangwon Land, the only casino in which Korean locals are allowed to wager, saw a 68.5% drop in revenue to KRW478.58bn in 2020.

With the majority of the nation’s gaming locations entirely dependent on international travel, Covid movement restrictions have hit the market harder than most. The latest reprieve does not absolve operators of sales tax payments, but it should – in theory – provide enough time for sites to edge back towards profitability.