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Korean Government Acts to Cut Losses at New Casino

21 November 2000

SOUTH KOREA – As reported by the Korea Herald: "…With the Korean version of Las Vegas entering its third week of commercial operation in a rundown coal mining town in Kangwon Province, sensational rumors of chronic gamblers bankrupting families and wiping out personal fortunes are rampant and have been featured in numerous investigative reports.

"…From a business point of view, the casino's initial performance seems to promise bright prospects for the establishment, which will triple in size by 2002. But the moral legitimacy of such facilities is being challenged as the first signs of its negative side effects are materializing.

"A survey by a local legislator found that visitors are coming with ample amounts of cash. Nearly 25 percent bring a million won, while 15 percent bring 2-3 million. High rollers ready to spend more than 10 million won have made up nearly 3 percent of visitors.

"Hoping to curb excessive losses by individuals, the government last weekend advised Kangwon Land, a public corporation run by local entities, to introduce a set of measures to ease concerns, such as the lowering of the maximum bet per game and the shortening of its business hours.

"…Opponents to casinos, which have previously been open only to foreigners in Korea for the last 28 years, argue that gambling hurts the national economy by eroding sound societal values such as the work ethic and individual integrity. Given these repercussions, world gambling capitals like Las Vegas and Monaco seek to attract as many international tourists as possible while educating their own citizens against the dangers of compulsive gambling, they say…"

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