In South Korea and a prominent federal politician has reportedly suggested that the nation’s collection of 17 foreigner-only casinos be allowed to start offering mobile wagering so as to more quickly recover from the detrimental impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.
According to a report from GGRAsia, Lee Sang-Heon is a member of the country’s National Assembly while his ‘proxy gambling’ proposal would permit casinos to bring in more revenues by offering overseas punters the ability to place real-time bets on live table games via the use of a mobile phone or tablet. The source detailed that such a move could even be further expanded in order to roll out such a streaming facility to pre-registered foreign-born customers located anywhere in South Korea including on the tourist-friendly island of Jeju.
Lee serves on the National Assembly’s influential Culture, Sports and Tourism Committee and reportedly floated his embryonic idea at the same time as figures from the Korea Casino Association trade group showed that the nation’s combined gambling sales for 2020 had fallen by almost 60% year-on-year to approximately $509.3 million. This purportedly came with an associated 15.5% drop in aggregated casino employment to 5,084 as venues across the country struggled to cope with a range of coronavirus-related safety measures that included capacity limits, temporary shutdowns and strict social distancing protocols.
Although GGRAsia did not clarify just what Lee was thought to have meant by ‘proxy gambling’, it did report that the Democratic Party politician’s suggestion is nevertheless likely to be opposed by the country’s Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism over fears that such services could be illicitly utilized by South Korean nationals. The government ministry is purportedly moreover said to be against the controversial idea due to ‘diplomatic friction’ concerns that local remote operators may begin targeting punters in nearby nations such as Japan or China.
For its part and Inside Asian Gaming reported that Lee floated a proposition earlier this year that would have amended the nation’s Tourism Promotion Act so as to allow land-based casino patrons to lodge remote bets by means of an accredited on-site agent. This source explained that he dismissed criticism of his most recent proposal by noting that foreigner-only gambling venues in South Korea have no sales caps and would be able to ensure compliance by implementing a range of refreshed security measures.
Lee reportedly declared…
“The casino business is a purely human service that creates a lot of jobs so a decrease in sales will soon lead to an employment crisis for casino workers.”