A number of Asian countries have tried to capitalize on the collapse of Macau’s casino industry and lure Macau’s VIP gamblers to their casinos in an effort to increase casino revenue and generate more taxes to the government. Countries like the Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia and Malaysia have seen an influx of gambling tourists during the last 12 months as these VIP gamblers have preferred to cross the border and visit countries that have a more lenient casino policy.
Amongst all the Asian countries, South Korea has been the most successful by far in customizing attractive gambling tourist packages and inviting VIP gamblers to their shores. South Korea has a booming casino industry that continues to grow with every passing year. There are currently a total of 17 casinos in South Korea and only one of those casinos allows South Korean nationals to gamble.
The South Korean casino industry caters mostly to tourists as locals are banned from entering casinos. The recent influx of VIP gamblers and the attractive promotions launched by South Korean casinos has had a strong pull on local gamblers who also want a chance to visit these casinos and be a part of the action. South Korean gamblers have actively campaigned using social media, gambling forums and the local media to be allowed to also gamble at these casinos.
The South Korean government debated these requests and recently decided to make an amendment by allowing a floating casino to operate that will open its doors to local South Korean gamblers. The new gambling ship will travel across South Korean waters and will stop at ports across South Korean inviting South Koreans to come aboard and visit the casino.
The Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries recently announced that the new project will be launched before the end of 2015 and the South Korean government will create special docks for these casino cruise ships in Gangwon, Incheon, Jeju,Sokcho and Busan. The project will kick start immediately as the Oceans Ministry will conduct two test runs before the end of May to establish the departure and arrival process; check the suitability of the docks and see what glitches need to be fixed.
In a statement, Oceans Minister Yoo Ki-june said “If the discussed plans are pushed forward without any problems, we will be able to launch at least a single cruise ship carrying the national flag and reach our goal of 1.2 million cruise tourists by the end of this year.”