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29/07/15 - Korea greenlights casino cruise ships

South Korea has given the go-ahead for cruise ships to operate onboard casinos for foreign guests.

The Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries said the plan has been approved by the South Korea cabinet and will come into effect on August 4 2015.

Several companies have already expressed their interest and we are expecting the first vessel to cruise as early as next year, Ministry Official Han Dong-soo told The Korea Herald. However it will likely be next year before ships make the necessary changes to start casino operations.

"We are currently seeking to support cruise operators to go for onboard casinos. Several companies have already expressed their interest and we are expecting the first vessel to cruise as early as next year," ministry official Han Dong-soo said.

The ordnance limits casino sizes to less than 2,600 square metres for 100,000 ton ships or larger, and under 1,300 square metres for smaller vessels.   

Each shipboard casino should have a foreign currency exchange booth and accounting systems accredited by the tourism ministry.

Casinos are only allowed to operate outside South Korean waters and then only for foreigners guests.

There had been fierce lobbying to allow casino access to Koreans but this has been strongly opposed by the general public.

On land there is only one casino in the country which allows locals to gamble, which was established under a special law.

 

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