SEOUL — Gambling aficionados in South Korea soon will have more options than the on-base slot machine rooms or the single existing casino in Seoul.
This week, the Korea National Tourism Organization announced it has awarded three more casino licenses to hotels in South Korea: two in Seoul and one in Pusan. The hotels will open full-service casinos that will limit their admission to foreign customers, in keeping with South Korea law.
The Oakwood Premier COEX Center hotel and the Millennium Seoul Hilton were awarded the licenses in Seoul. The Lotte Hotel in Pusan earned the other contract.
The existing foreigners-only casino in Seoul is at the Sheraton Walker Hill hotel. Pusan also has a foreigners casino, as does the Mount Sorak resort area. The southern resort island of Cheju has eight casinos. Five Seoul hotels and three Pusan hotels competed for the contracts, according to the Ministry of Tourism and Culture.
The three winning hotels will sign contracts later this week, officials said, and they expect to be in operation as early as September.
“Judges chose the three hotels after examining the applicants’ facilities, access, service quality and lease price. The judgment was objective and fair,” a KNTO statement read.
U.S. bases all have slot-machine rooms to be used only by status-of-forces-agreement personnel. Military agencies run the rooms, putting the proceeds into recreational and morale programs.