Plans are afoot to allow South Koreans to visit more than one of the country’s casinos. Currently, Koreans can only play in one hotel resort in Gangwon Province with the other 16 casinos reserved for anyone that doesn’t possess a Korean passport. According to The Chosunilbo, The Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Jung Byung-guk introduced the new measures and commented, “I will look for ways for allow locals to enter casinos. I’m not sure if I will be able to accomplish this during my term, but I will push ahead with the project.”
The meeting that was held at the Korean Chamber of Commerce and Industry heard from Byung-guk that it’s “absurd” to ban Koreans and at the same time encourage foreigners to enter gambling halls. In addition, Byung-guk used the meeting to reiterate that the country will forge ahead with efforts to amend the current gaming regulations.
Byung-guk added, “Since many Koreans disapprove of opening casinos to local citizens, those who want to gamble go abroad and spend their money in foreign countries.
“The result is that we end up losing out on what should be a highly lucrative and high-end tourism draw.”
Asia’s potential is plain to see and with the relative proximity of other destinations offering casinos it’s no surprise that Korea wants a piece of its own pie. As for the question of whether it will create social problems, Byung-guk cited Las Vegas and said, “Las Vegas used to be a playground for gambling, but now it is more focused on the convention industry and has turned into a city for shopping.”
Since his appointment earlier this year, Kim has spent little time waiting around and if it helps the economy it’s no wonder. It will remain to be seen whether the country reaches the heady heights that Macau and Singapore have achieved. There’s no reason why not.