The ultra conservative South Korean government will be under the gun as a maverick high ranking government official is proposing legislation to open up all South Korean casinos to citizens. South Korean gambling laws are widely considered to be the harshest in the world, allowing citizens the ‘choice’ of legally gambling in only one casino in the entire world.
Unlike other authoritarian states, South Korea actually considers it a serious crime for a resident to gamble while on vacation in another country. South Koreans are only permitted to play at one resort in the rural mountains of the Gangwon Province, while all other sixteen gambling establishments are strictly reserved for use by foreigners.
Jung Byung-guk, the South Korean Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism told online gambling news in South Korea: “I will look for ways for allow locals to enter casinos. I’m not sure if I will be able to accomplish this during my term, but I will push ahead with the project.”
The Culture Minister thinks it’s absurd for a democratic Korea to prohibit Korean citizens from gambling while opening up the casino doors for foreigners. He expressed his views during a recent meeting of the Korean Chamber of Commerce and Industry, where he also spoke about amending current South Korean gambling laws.
Byung-guk went on to say: “Since many Koreans disapprove of opening casinos to local citizens, those who want to gamble go abroad and spend their money in foreign countries. The result is that we end up losing out on what should be a highly lucrative and high-end tourism draw.”
Industry experts agree that Asia has great potential when it comes to gambling expansion. With South Korea’s proximity to both Macau and Singapore there’s no reason why the country could not easily grab a large piece of the action. Both land-based and online casinos in South Korea have a bright future ahead if only the authoritarian traditionalists in government would show some flexibility and listen to the voters.
Ever since Jung Byung-guk was appointed the Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism he has tried to promote a more liberalized view of gambling in South Korea. Unfortunately so far few have listened. For now gamblers will continue playing poker, roulette and online bingo games in South Korea at hundreds of eager foreign bingo rooms and casinos who welcome the South Korean online bingo gamblers.