South Korea plans to enable its citizens and foreign tourists to wager on new cruise ship services that will serve ports around the country, reports the Korea Joongang Daily newspaper.
Some major overseas cruise companies – such as Genting Hong Kong Ltd’s Star Cruises – operate shipboard casinos that only open once the vessel is in international waters.
The plans also include allowing local residents to use casinos on cruise ships. The National Assembly passed
the Cruise Act in January to open casinos on cruise ships carrying the Korean national flag for foreign passengers only, but now the government plans to submit a revision bill to allow local residents to use cruise ship casinos.
The Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries on Thursday announced that the government will launch South Korean cruises within the year, said the news outlet.
The initiative will establish docks exclusively for cruise ships in Busan, Incheon, Jeju, and Sokcho, Gangwon, by 2016. Existing docks will also be modified to allow cruise ship access, the newspaper added.
The Oceans Ministry said it plans to operate two trial runs to major tourist destinations in South Korea and Japan within the month. The runs are intended to check for glitches, including dock usage as well as the departure and arrival process.
“If the discussed plans are pushed forward without any problems, we will be able to launch at least a single cruise ship carrying the national flag and reach our goal of 1.2 million cruise tourists by the end of this year,” said Oceans Minister Yoo Ki-june, as quoted by the newspaper.
South Korea has a booming casino industry that continues to grow with every passing year. There are currently a total of 17 casinos in South Korea and only one of those casinos allows South Korean nationals