n January, the government passed new legislation aimed at boosting the country’s struggling cruise ship business. On Thursday, the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries announced that locals would be allowed to gamble in the casinos aboard these ships.
Anti-gambling critics are already raising hell, saying the government’s stated intention behind offering support to the cruise industry was to attract international clientele. But Maritime Minister Yoo Ki-june told a press conference that “consensus on [allowing locals to gamble onboard] has been formed to a certain level” and that the government plans to submit a revised version of the legislation to the National Assembly “soon.”
Korean news outlet Dong-a Ilbo quoted a government insider saying it cost KRW 4m (US $3,700) for a spot on a cruise ship, while gamblers could travel to Kangwon Land for a fraction of that price. As such, the government’s position is that “casinos on cruise ships are a leisure facility rather than a gambling facility.”