Online gambling still on the table for Jeju island

The casino industry has been heavily affected by the lack of tourists.
The casino industry has been heavily affected by the lack of tourists.

Authorities are analysing the pros and cons of allowing casinos to offer online gambling services.

South Korea.- Alex Park Jeung Yeon, assistant director of the Jeju government’s Casino Policy Division, has told GGRAsia that the island’s authorities are still analysing the possibility of allowing casinos to offer online gambling as a way to help the industry recover.

According to Yeon, the government is currently studying the pros and cons of a move that would change the island’s regulatory landscape for gaming. Although there are eight casinos on Jeju island, only three are openJeju Shinhwa World, operated by Hong Kong-listed Landing International, Paradise Casino, operated by Paradise Co and Jeju Dream Tower, run by Lotte Tour Development.

The possibility of allowing South Korean casinos to offer remote gambling began to be discussed last October when Lee Sang-heon, a member of the National Assembly’s Culture, Sports and Tourism Committee, said foreigner-only casinos should be allowed to introduce such services.

In November, experts discussed ideas to help the industry recover at the Jeju International Casino Policy Forum. However, authorities ruled out the possibility of allowing South Korean nationals to gamble as many people were against the idea. 

In 2020, South Korean casinos received only 1.76m visits, down from 6.13m in 2019. Jeju casinos welcomed 166,873 visitors, down 54.8 per cent when compared to pre-pandemic levels.

Visa-free entry to Jeju Island for holders of certain passports, including those from mainland China was resumed on June 1. All foreigners entering South Korea must be fully vaccinated and must be tested for Covid-19 within 24 hours of arriving. Any foreigner who is unvaccinated or who tests positive for Covid-19 on arrival is required to undergo a seven-day quarantine.

Jeju’s visa-free entry programme allows citizens of most countries, including China, to stay in Jeju for up to 30 days. The programme had been suspended in February 2020 amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

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