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South Koreans Stampede To New Casino

30 October 2000

SEOUL, South Korea – Oct. 30, 2000 – As reported by the Agence France-Presse: "The opening of a casino for South Koreans caused a third day of chaos Monday with thousands of people clogging roads to the remote mountain town of Chongson.

"The Small Casino Hotel has been under virtual siege from the public since it opened Saturday after the government ended a three-decade-old ban on gambling.

"Some slot machines have broken down and the casino management has admitted that gangsters have been seen among hordes of people at the gaming tables. Local inhabitants are having their entry restricted.

"…The casino was opened to help Chongson recover after the collapse of the mining industry devastated the local economy.

"…All 199 rooms in the hotel are continually booked and tourism officials said there was not a spare bed to be found in Chongson.

"…The casino has 480 slot machines and 30 gaming tables but Yonhap news agency reported that 40 coin machines broke down within hours of the opening.

"Park also acknowledged that Korean mobsters had been seen in The Small Casino Hotel.

"…An official for Kangwon Land Corp., which built the casino, said 93 percent of earnings would be given out in winnings, three percent higher than Las Vegas.

"The government owns 51 percent of Kangwon Land, which plans to pour 1.2 trillion won (1.07 billion dollars) into the area by 2006 to build a South Korean Las Vegas with its own five star hotel, 1,600 slot machines and 80 gaming tables. There will also be ski slopes and a golf course…"

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