The repeated closures of Kangwon Land, the only casino in South Korea at which locals are permitted to gamble, due to COVID-19 in 2020 saw the number of people seeking assistance for gambling addiction fall by 78.9%.
According to figures published by Korean political news website Pressian, in the 12-month period from 23 February 2020 – when the casino first suspended operations due to COVID-19 – Kangwon Land was closed for 223 days, partially open for 89 days and running normal operations for just 53 days.
As a result, the number of people seeking help at the Kangwon Land Addiction Management Center fell from 11,427 cases in 2019 to 2,414 in 2020.
The center, which has a total of 17 employees including the center director, focuses on gambling addiction prevention, addiction healing, addiction investigation and research activities.
“Along with the casino closure, counseling has drastically decreased,” a Kangwon Land executive said. “Support for medical expenses and vocational rehabilitation expenses showed a slight decrease of about 14%.”