Opposition Party In S. Korea Want To Allow Locals Into Second Casino
An opposition party group in South Korea called the People’s Party wants the gambling bill amended to allow a second casino in the country to be open to the local population. South Korea currently has 17 operational casinos but locals are allowed entry in to only one of the casinos called the Kangwon Land casino resort in Kangwon province which is around 150 kilometres (93 miles) from Seoul.
According a local media report, the lawmakers are working to develop a revision bill that will allow the development of an integrated casino resort in the Saemangeum Development Area. The Saemangeum Development Area is one of the country’s eight free economic zones located in southwestern province of Jeolla and is around four hours away from Seoul.
The proposed casino would permit locals to gamble within limits much like the Marina Bay Sands casino in Singapore. Restrictions would include imposing an entrance fee in the range of KRW50,000 (US$45) to KRW100,000 per person and limiting their casino visits to around 10 visits per month.
Analysts from the brokerage firm JP Morgan Securities (Asia Pacific) Ltd said that it was unlikely that a second casino for locals would be permitted. In a statement analysts from JP Morgan said,
We think it may be difficult for a minor opposition party to gain political and public consensus on this sensitive matter, as there will likely be significant push-backs from Kangwon province, as well as many other cities/provinces such as Incheon, Busan and Jeju who have also been lobbying to have local casinos
The analysts also highlighted the fact that the country’s Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism which regulates the casino industry has consistently opposed opening another local casino. Credit ratings agency Fitch Ratings Inc has said in a June report that there was low political support in South Korea for the expansion of gaming ventures for locals despite the possibility that such ventures would draw interest from large international casino operators.
The People’s Party won 38 seats in the elections held in April this year for the country’s 300-member body National Assembly. People’s Party’s representative Kim Kwan-young said that his party had the approval of several lawmakers including those from Jeolla and a key representative of the National Assembly’s Land Infrastructure and Transport Committee. The committee is responsible for dealing with Saemangeum Special Law.
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