Casino operators in South Korea have closed shop in protest of their ineligibility for a bailout from the government which set aside a stimulus package to assist businesses that have been negatively impacted by the Coronavirus.
This past week, the Ministry of Culture and Sports announced that it had set aside US$79 million from its tourism promotion kitty to help business that are currently struggling due to the outbreak of the COVID-19.
But, casinos were not included in the stimulus package despite them being affected by the low number of international tourists and the fact that they contribute close to one fifth of the money that from which the stimulus packaged was withdrawn.
Only one out of the 17 casino was not forbidden from letting locals access their gaming space, which means that they depend on international tourists. With the many Asia-Pacific countries as well as airlines imposing travel restrictions, many operators are currently grappling with losses.
The grand Korea Leisure, a casino that operates three 7 Luck-branded casinos, stated on Monday that it would close all its operations until further notice. Its Rival, the Paradise CO Ltd also announced similar measures in all its four casinos until the 6th of April, although operations at its Busan and paradise locations will continue.
This past Friday, Kangwon Land, the country largest Casino and the only one that can serve locals, stated that they would extend their closure order for the fifth time. The casino later stated that it would reassess the pandemic on the 6th of April.
The lack of concern for the woes of the casino industry is not just limited to South Korea. Casino and betting operators in the UK learnt this past week that were also ineligible for the plan by the government to exempt hospitality and retail businesses from remitting rates for a period of one year.