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South Korea plans to raise age for casino entry

South Korea parliament proposed a law that the minimum age for entering casinos to 21 years from the current 19 has been submitted.

The bill, which its sponsors said was aimed at preventing gambling addiction among the country’s youth, would require changes to articles 22 and 28 of the Tourism Promotion Act. If approved, the revised requirement will apply to all casinos licensed under the Tourism Promotion Act.

South Korea’s gaming sector includes 17 casinos: 16 foreigner-only venues and only one that admits South Korean players, Kangwon Land. The others are strictly foreigner-only casinos.

Defenders of the bill assert that the changes are needed because there has been a rise in gambling addiction among South Korea’s youth. They point out that an age limit of 21 is similar to what is seen in Macau and Singapore, as well as in other popular gaming destinations throughout Asia.

Given that Kangwon Land has a significant amount of local traffic, it stands to suffer the most by the new regulation. The project has already suffered from weaker revenue, with 2018 profit falling 32.1% year-on-year. Of that drop, 8.3% was attributable to a decline in revenue from gaming operations. Losing part of its potential customer base could lead to continued declines in 2019 and beyond.

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