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South Korea Considers Adding Tourist Casino

16 September 2003

SOUTH KOREA – As reported by the Joong Ang Daily: "If the government's plans are successful, you may be able to add one more type of hub of Northeast Asia in Korea of tourist casinos open to foreigners only.

"There are now 13 such foreigner-only casinos in the country, and only one, in remote Gangwon province, where Koreans can roll the dice or study the cards. But the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Construction say they will ask the National Assembly to allow foreign investors in Jeju tourism facilities to open one casino there for every $500 million they invest in new tourism infrastructure on Korea's southern island. There are now six such casinos operating there.

"… Several laws would have to be amended, because some tourist area development is under the Tourism Ministry's purview, while the Construction Ministry is involved in the operations of free trade zones.

"…An official at the Ministry of Tourism said casino permits would be an attractive and effective inducement to foreign investment in Korea¡¯s tourism infrastructure. No permits for new foreigner-only casinos have been issued since 1995, and those in operation seem to be doing well. Last year, the ministry said, the 13 such casinos now open here attracted 647,000 gamblers, an increase in traffic of 3 percent over 2001. Total revenue of the casinos was $341 million last year, up 7 percent…"

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