Authorities in South Korea are discussing the introduction of proxy betting in the nation’s 17 foreigner-only casinos as a means of addressing a massive decline in customers due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to local news outlet New Daily, Representative Lee Sang-heon, a member of the National Assembly Culture, Sports and Tourism Committee, proposed a “Partial Amendment to the Tourism Promotion Act” earlier this year that would allow VIP customers to place bets remotely using an on-site agent.
The proposal has reportedly been opposed by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism on concerns the system could allow Koreans to gamble by faking their identities, and that it could lead to excess sales within the gambling industry.
However, Lee noted there is no limit on sales volumes for Korea’s foreigner-only casinos and addressed identity concerns by calling for the introduction of strong security measures.
He also pointed to figures from the Korea Casino Association showing that sales at Korea’s foreigner-only casinos fell 73% year-on-year in 2020 to KRW336.5 billion. Employment has also fallen by 936 people, from 6,020 in 2020 to 5,084 in 2021.
“The casino business is a purely human service that creates a lot of jobs, so a decrease in sales will soon lead to an employment crisis for casino workers,” Lee said.