Las Vegas Sands Corp chairman Sheldon G. Adelson recently offered to build a $4.5 billion casino in Busan, South Korea. But there’s a catch: Adelson’s company will only build the luxury casino if laws preventing Korean nationals from gambling are either lifted or loosened.
By adding the caveat, Adelson is himself gambling that the government, hungry for more tax revenue, will ignore strong public opinion against legalized gambling, and jump on the offer.
Currently, Korea has 17 licensed casinos nationwide, with all prohibiting Korean nationals from entering –save one located in Gangwon-do.
Not only are all but one of the country’s casinos closed to locals, but so are those in the rest of the world, with current law making it a crime for Korean citizens to gamble abroad, though it is a law rarely enforced.
On Friday George Tanasijevich, CEO of Marina Bay Sands, a core affiliate of of the Nevada-based Las Vegas Sands Group, met with Busan Mayor Suh Byung-soo.
According to the Korea Times, the mayor is open to the idea (as is the Korean Tourism Organization) but the central government is the one to call the shots on whether Korea’s decades-old gambling laws will be repealed or revamped.
Tanasijevich and Adelson both firmly believe that a Busan location, coupled with its beachside attractions and infrastructure could rival other resort-casinos across Asia.
Foreigner Only Casinos Still a Thriving Industry
A consortium between Chinese company Lippo and American casino giant Ceasars Entertainment, are set to begin construction on a foreigner only casino in Yeongjong-do later this year.
Paradise Group, Korea’s largest resort and casino operator have already broken ground on another foreign only casino in November last year in the same area.
Recently, a casino group led by Chow Tai Fook in Hong Kong, inked a $2.6 billion deal with Incheon Metropolitan City which will see the construction of casino slated to be completed there by 2022.
Lots of new venues, but not one open to Korean nationals.
Answering concerns by the Korean public and regulators over the ill-perceptions of open gambling, Tanasijevich suggested that preventive measure could be set up that ban those with a history of bankruptcy or possessing a criminal record.
While there are two national lotteries Lotto and Toto, horse, motor and cycle racing, ponying up your paycheck anywhere else is strictly off limits–for the time being.
Is Korea Going to Allow Koreans in their Own Casinos? (2013)
The Latest Haps
Over 100 motorcyclists in local racing clubs have been arrested in Gyeongnam after a large crackdown by local authorities.
A 16-year-old boy was arrested this week on suspicion of stealing 26 bicycles from a military apartment and a high school.
For six days, fantastic short films from around the globe are back as the 34th Busan International Short Film Festival begins from April 25-30 at the Busan Cinema Center.
This Friday, April 21st, at HQ Bar KSU sees the return of the monthly Ha Ha Hole, Busan’s only live English comedy show.
With the large number of divorces over the past decade in Korea, many divorcees have decided to tie the knot for a second time.
You can win two round trip flight tickets with the “On the Road Busan Travel Stories” competition.
The Park Hyatt Busan is holding a “Wine Bazaar” until May 9th at the hotel’s first floor boutique bakery, Patisserie.
The legendary Kyungsung drinking institution, HQ Bar, will shut its doors this Tuesday with a final blow-out party.
Gorilla Brewing Company has begun offering “Fish and Chips Friday’s” at its brewery in Gwangalli.
The Hapcheon Hwangmaesan Royal Azalea Festival gets underway for a two week run from April 30th to May 14th.
Popular video documentary team Great Big Stories has a cool little short about Mount Halla in Jeju that’s worth a look.
To meet rising demand for in South Korea, low-cost carrier Jeju Air announced that it will expand its fleet to 32 aircraft by December — the announcement coming after the airline’s 29th aircraft, a B737-800, was delivered to Gimpo International Airport over the weekend.
An official from SPO1, a public corporation in Busan, said it will hold bicycle races every Monday through the month of May.
Three great sailing events spanning 10 days take over the waters around Haeundae Beach beginning April 28th.
Global Gathering International Sports Day 2017 will take place at Norimaru playground in Seomyeon on Saturday, April 22, 2017.