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Cheers and Loathing for Korean Casino

24 November 2000

SOUTH KOREA – Nov. 24, 2000 – As reported by the Korea Herald: "The crowd at the black jack tables is three-deep.

"…At the baccarat and roulette tables the picture is the same.

"...The electronic chirping of the 500 slot machines, packed tighter than tenements, rises to a near maddening decibel, drowning out the sounds of all voices, all cheers and sighs.

"…All in all, it is a crowd any casino on the planet would be ecstatic to have on a Friday or Saturday night.

"But at this house, it is only 9:17 in the morning on a Tuesday - their `slow time.'

"Welcome to Kangwon Land, the first casino in Korea to give Koreans a piece of the action.

"Kangwon Land's Executive Director Paul Lee is firmly in the dream-come-true camp.

"…Lee, a veteran of Las Vegas, is just one of the made-for-Hollywood storylines in the Kangwon Land saga. He emigrated to the United States in the 1970s and started off at the bottom as a dealer. Over the next three decades he slowly worked his way up to mid-level managerial positions, serving as pit boss at the Paris Hotel and shift manager at the Stardust, but he never fulfilled his personal American dream: running his own casino.

"`I never made it all the way. I was Oriental. I didn't have the connections,' said Lee, a lithe and affable man who harbors no resentment, but is positively bursting with Bugsy Siegal-esque dreams.

"`I want to create something that is better than Las Vegas in Asia,' said Lee. `In Asia there are casinos, but they don't have the entertainment atmosphere of Las Vegas. I want to really show them something.'..."

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