One would expect a country with such a thriving economy as that of South Korea to have a large number of casinos but the truth will shock any foreigner. The country has only 19 casinos thanks to its laws that make gambling a serious crime for the local people. The country is said to have some of the harshest laws on gambling in the world. In the whole country, only one casino is set up for use by the locals while the rest are reserved for foreigners. Even the one casino that serves the citizens is set in the rural mountains of Gangwong province. It is even considered a serious crime for citizens to engage in gambling while on vacation in another country.
The South Korean minister for culture, tourism and sports, Mr. Jung Byung-Guk is quoted as having said that he would push for repeal of the archaic laws to allow all citizens entry into casinos. He said although it might be difficult to accomplish the mission before his term ended but he would lead in the quest.
He noted that it was absurd for a democracy to forbid its own citizens from engaging in gambling while allowing foreigners to do it. The minister said this while he was addressing the Korean Chamber of Commerce and industry, where he also proposed to amend the existing South Korean gambling law. Byung-Guk noted that since many South Koreans disapproved of opening up casinos to citizens, those who loved the game had been going to play it in foreign countries. He a said this had led to the country losing out on what he termed as a highly lucrative and high-end tourism draw.
Critics say that the country has high potential for gambling. This is especially boosted by its close proximity to Macau and Singapore which are renowned gambling destinations. However, for this to happen, the conservative South Korean government will have to loosen the gambling laws in the country. With its good economic growth and technological advancement south Korea stands a big chance to develop a vibrant gambling industry bringing in billions in terms of revenues.
Another major block to the gambling industry in South Korea is that there are some powerful forces within the government who aggressively oppose plans to liberate gambling in the country. With the excess investment capital and a growing population, the country is one of the most suited in the world to develop a vibrant gambling industry.
Tourism in the country has been growing rapidly for the past ten years. The country’s culture has become the dominant in the region with the country’s movies, music and literature has gained a lot of acceptance in the region. All these factories make it very possible to start a highly productive gambling industry in the country.
Efforts to rid South Korea of gambling activities have been on the rise ever since two government officials were accused of receiving bribes from the existing gambling casinos. The country allows its citizens to play poker online but does not license any online casinos though.