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South Korea – Jeju Governor wants to ban casino licence transfers

By - 10 September 2018

Reports out of South Korea suggest that the Governor of Jeju wants to crack down on casino development on the island, which already is already home to nine casinos.

Governor Won Hee-ryong has publicly lauded a law change that would stop the transfer of casino licences from one property to another.

“We should, in principle, approve a system that species the total area of a casino in order to prevent this place from becoming an island of gambling,” he warned.

Jeju Shinwha World was the latest casino to benefit from transferring a licence from a small, existing casino to its huge theme park style project on the island. Its owner, Landing International, has managed to increase its gaming revenue by 360 per cent having relocated its Jeju gaming licence from Hyatt Regency Jeju Hotel to Jeju Shinhwa World on February 25 2018.
The sprawling property has generated W369.4bn in revenue since its opening in February, dwarfing the combined revenues of the other eight casinos on the island who generated just $120m.

Revenues at Jeju Shinwha World were five times higher than the revenue of Incheon’s Paradise City, the biggest casino in South Korea, over the same period. The casino has welcomed some 350,000 foreigners to stay at its hotels in its first six months.

Jeju Governor Won Hee-ryong believes that non-transferrable casino licences will help to prevent Jeju from becoming an ‘island of gambling.’

The move would be problematic for the under development Jeju Dream Tower. Its owners Lotte Tour Development have looked to mirror the Landing model by buying Paradise Group’s Paradise Casino Jeju Lotte, located in Hotel Lotte Jeju on the island of Jeju, for US$38.8m, and transferring it to its new property. Without the casino licence the whole project would be called into question.
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