Police find cash at South Korean casino

By Noah Taylor Updated
South Korea to play a big role in COVID-recovery for gambling in Asia

Unidentified cash worth US$7.4 million was found by police at a South Korean casino.

Gambling Insider reports police found the cash on Jeju Island, a casino in the country and the cash may be connected to theft by an employee of the company.

The Jeju Provincial Police Agency confirmed that investigators are in the process of analysing if the banknotes discovered at a safe at the casino, are part of funds that went missing from the Landing Casino at Jeju Shinhwa World last week.

Investigators also confirmed that a separate sum of money worth several billion South Korean won was found at the residence of a female Malaysian executive, who is reportedly a key suspect in the case.

Having secured camera footage from the casino, police are now searching for the employee who was in charge of handling funds at the casino.

But video recordings at the time of the alleged theft have been erased.

“We are tracking the whereabouts of the cash and the person in question by checking CCTV footage,” police said.

Landing International Development, the Hong Kong-based operator of the casino, disclosed the cash disappearance last week, having filed a police report through its local affiliate.

A statement from the operator last week read: “The board is currently gathering information in relation to the incident and is still investigating the matter.”

Jeju Dream Tower casino set to open in March

A new South Korean casino is set to launch in March, according to Asgam.

Korean-based tourism company Lotte Tour Development could launch operations at Jeju Dream Tower soon than forecast, as it is planning to apply for a permit before the end of this month to relocate its current foreigner only casino from the Lotte Hotel Jeju to Jeju Dream Tower, the $1.4 billion development that opened on December 18, 2020.

Pending completion of a Casino Impact Study Assessment and approval from local authorities, the goal is to open the new casino in March.

The relocation would expand the company’s current gaming space by almost five times to more than 5000 square metres and see its five gaming tables and 51 machines rise to 150 tables and 300 machines.

The tallest building in Jeju at 38 floors or 169 metres high, Jeju Dream Tower already features a retail mall, 14 restaurants and bars, an outdoor pool deck, top floor skydeck with lounge, two spas and a hotel.

The opening of Jeju Dream Tower last month came some 40 years after the 75-acre site upon which it sits was first purchased by Lotte Tour predecessor Dongwha Investment and Development Co in 1980.

Excavation work began in 1984 but was halted due to lack of funding.

The project was eventually resurrected in 2008 and construction resumed in May 2016 following alterations to the design.

Foreigner-only casino in South Korea reports big losses 

A South Korean casino operator has recorded a 72 per cent year-on-year sales slump, but a nine per cent rise in September.

Asgam reported in November that foreigner-only casino operator Paradise Co reported a US$18 million decline in table game sales and US$1.6 million fall in poker machine sales, with global border closures as a result of the coronavirus pandemic hurting the company’s access to foreign customers.

Local expats have previously been credited for bringing in a small but steady stream of business to its four casinos – Paradise City, Paradise Walkerhill, Busan Casino and Jeju Grand.

All four briefly closed in late March with Jeju Grand reopening on April 13 and the remaining three on April 20.

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