Kangwon Land Casino Plans to Diversify

The nation's only casino open to Korean gamblers announced on Monday, June 26 that it is planning to transform itself into a more comprehensive recreational resort. This is in response to the nation's growing demand for family-oriented leisure activities.

The state-run casino has also released a statement saying that there has been a decline in gambling profits. The move is also seen to usher in a different form of revenue for the casino resort, while attracting a broader market at the same time.

"Our casino business, which accounted for roughly 90 percent of our entire profit of 300 billion won (US$313 million) in 2005, is expected to fall off this year," said Cho Ki-Song, president of Kangwon Land.

According to the president, the casino is expected to see profits falling to an estimated 270 billion won by the end of 2006. The resort will be opening ski slopes in early December in response to this impending slump, hoping to make up for the lost profits by attracting more foreign and local tourists alike.

"Efforts are underway to offer affordable tourist packages to winter visitors from places like Hong Kong, Taiwan and China, who have been drawn to South Korea's ski resorts in the past," Cho Ki-Song said.

In July 2005, Kangwon Land has already added in its attractions a golf course. The addition of the ski slopes in the casino resort is a work toward turning the property into a year long tourist destination. In addition, Kangwon Land is also planning link the property to the capital Seoul by adding a speacial train service. The service is expected to coincide with the opening of the ski slopes.

"This cooperation with Korea Railroad Corp. was influenced by the three most successful ski resorts in Japan that are all accessible by train," said Cho. He said the train would literally stop right at the foot of the ski slopes, a convenient feature that will also ensure the safety of the passenger.

The casino resort is located in the mountainous Jongseon, approximately 4 hours from Seoul. The accessibility of the resort will be made easier through the trains. Plans are also underway for another train line that will link the casino resort to South Korea's second largest city, Busan.

While the casino is expanding business, it has likewise expanded its operations concerning gambling addictions. Recently the center has enlarged its gambling addiction center, where people with gambling projects can get free therapy.

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