The South Korean casino market is one of the fastest growing gambling markets in Asia and the Kangwon Land casino resort in Kangwon province is the most profitable casino in the country. This comes as no surprise as out of the seventeen licensed casinos in the country, Kangwon Land is the only casino that is licensed to allow locals to gamble.
Kangwon Land casino management recently announced that they plan to tighten regulations specifically in regards to local casino entry in an attempt to address concerns over local problem gambling. Ham Seung-huie, the chief executive officer of the Kangwon Land casino recently confirmed these measures at the National Assembly during a government audit hearing. The Korea Times reported that during the audit Jeong Woon-chun, a lawmaker for the Saenuri Party criticized the Kangwon Land casino for failing to take more steps to address the issue of gambling addiction.
The Kangwon Land casino received a total of 3.1 million visitors during 2015 and reported profits of 1.5 trillion won. South Korean gamblers accounted for 98.8 percent of the 3.1 million visitors and Jeong highlighted the fact that while the domestic gambling addiction rate was around 5.4 percent, the gambling prevalence rate for locals at the Kangwon Land casino was 61.8 percent. Jeong was also critical of the fact that the casino allotted only 0.1 percent of its profits to address the issue of problem gambling.
Kangwon Land currently charges local gamblers an entry fee of 9,000 won to visit the casino and allows them to play at the casino for only 15 days each month. The casino has now proposed to raise the entry fee to 40,000 won and monitor local gamblers more closely. Locals who visit the casino for an average of 30 days over 2 consecutive months will now be treated as gambling addicts and be banned from entering the casino. As of now, those labeled as gambling addicts can attend a six-hour addiction program at the Kangwon Land Addiction Care Center (KLACC) and have the ban immediately lifted.
Based on the new proposal, gamblers who play for 30 days during 2 consecutive months will receive a ban for up to one month. If they are found to have once again accumulated 30 days of gambling in consecutive months, they will then be banned for two months and if repeated again, will be hit with a 3-month ban. Visitors to the Kangwon Land casino will have to continue to give out their personal information which includes their full name, address, and date of birth. The Board of Audit and Inspection in South Korea had issued a warning earlier this year stating that gambling regulations for locals were not strict like the casino industry in Singapore.
A number of global casino operators including Las Vegas Sands Corp have expressed interest in developing billion dollar casino resorts in the country, should South Korea decide to lift the ban and allow locals to gamble in all casinos.