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Booming Korean Casino Selling Stock

25 October 2001

SEOUL, South Korea –– As reported by Bloomberg News: "Hard times have been good times for Kangwon Land Inc. Since its casino opened last year, an average of 2,300 visitors a day have queued for a turn at its tables. Some sleep on its sofas or floors. Profit has soared.

"Today, the owner of the only South Korean casino in which South Koreans themselves can bet starts trading on the Kosdaq market and investors expect a rally that will establish it as the index's third-biggest stock.

"…Casinos, horse racing and other forms of gambling accounted for more than 40 percent of the 14 trillion won in revenue in Korea's leisure industry last year. And some analysts say they've been spending even more as annual economic growth slows to 2 percent, the weakest in three years.

"…As owner of the only one of South Korea's 14 casinos that local people are allowed to enter, Kangwon Land thrives even though it's in a depressed former coal-mining region, a bumpy four-hour ride from Seoul. All other casinos in the country are open only to foreign bettors, many of them Japanese visitors to Cheju Island, which has eight casinos.

"..Kangwon Land isn't standing still. It plans to build a Korean version of Las Vegas next year, complete with 1,600 slot machines, 80 game tables, an 882-room hotel, a condominium-style residential development, 16 ski slopes, a golf course and amusement parks…"

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