South Korea: concerns over casino layoffs on Jeju island

Jeju island's casinos are in crisis.
Jeju island's casinos are in crisis.

The casino sector has been excluded from government support during the pandemic and the situation could impact on employment.

South Korea.- The casino and gaming sector on the island of Jeju is feeling the impact of the Covid-19 crisis and analysts have warned about the possibility of widespread layoffs.

According to local press, while many other businesses have received special employment support assistance from the government, the casino sector has been excluded.

That situation is leading the casinos to a deeper economic crisis in a context in which the flow of tourists has stopped due to measures to contain the spread of the virus. As the casinos in Jeju are foreigner-only venues, the situation is critical.

According to the Jeju Island Tourism Association, foreign tourists arrivals to Jeju were down by 98.5 per cent in the second quarter of 2020, with only 6,246 foreign tourists coming to the province over the entire three-month period.

Today only four of the island’s eight casinos are open in some form.

One of the eight companies reportedly ended its financial support to furloughed workers in July, and at least three others are expected to follow suit by the end of October.

A Ministry of Employment and Labor official said the casinos crisis is not a priority for the government: “We understand the difficult reality faced by the casino industry, but we judged that the situation for the travel industry and for duty-free shops is even more dire, and for that reason the casino industry has not been our priority for support measures.”

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Casinos finance Jeju south korea