More casinos for foreigners expected nationwide

To date, only a number of cities and provinces with international airports, passenger terminals, or special tourism zones have been entitled to have such casinos. Critics argued that the revision would drastically increase the number of foreigners-only casinos and eventually spark a gambling mindset among the public as well.

But government officials say that the revision was inevitable both to boost tourism and because of the equality of cities and provinces. „We’re not yet in discussions as to whether to increase the number of foreigners-only casinos,“ an official at the Ministry of Culture and Tourism said. „Primary to such decisions is the careful consideration of the number of foreign tourists and whether the cities are capable of accommodating them.“

Following the move, stock prices soared for companies such as Tovis and Kortek that are involved in casino-related businesses by producing monitors for gaming facilities.
But as competition is expected to heat up in the casino industry, companies that operate casinos, such as Paradise Group or Kangwon Land, which operates a casino that allows Korean nationals to gamble, suffered from falling stock prices.

Currently, there are 14 foreigners-only casinos nationwide. Grand Korea Leisure, a subsidiary of the state-run Korea Tourism Organization, opened the latest one in southern Seoul last month, saying it would help attract more foreign visitors.