South Korea to pay casino addicts to stay away but will it work?

  • Kangwon Land will pay problem gamblers $44.50 a day to not come to the casino
  • Other voluntary programs see high levels of registration among gamblers
  • Kangwon Land is the only casino in South Korea where locals are allowed to gamble

A South Korean casino has begun trailing a new system to combat problem gambling but it is unlike any other staggery currently in place today.

South Korean problem gamblers
South Korean paying problem gamblers to stay away

The Kangwon Land Addiction Care Center, which is run by the Kangwon Land casino, will pay problem gamblers KRW50k (US$44.50) for every day they manage to resist coming to the casino to gamble, paying addicts to stay away.

Kangwon Land has a monopoly in the Asian country, providing the only casino where South Koreans are permitted to gamble. However, even locals are not permitted to visit the casino more than 15 times per month. Another voluntary program, restricting locals to just five visits per month, was signed up to by 70% of participating gamblers. The system to pay people not to set foot in the casino has so far had an initial 30 people joining the program.

South Korea’s 16 other casinos are all open to foreigners only, with Kangwon Land being the only venue where residents of the country are allowed to gamble, although the venue takes in more than all of the other casinos in the country combined. However, concerns over problem gambling have led to heavy criticism of the casino in the country’s media, leading to the drastic measure as new efforts are made to combat gambling addiction.

Whether the move will prove successful or not remains to be seen, but other countries could be watching to see if the idea bears fruit. The casino had already announced new measures last October to deal with problem gambling, and it seems that the South Korean authorities are taking the problem extremely seriously.


It is easy to see the appeal of the tale, South Korea’s only casino where natives can gamble is to show it is supporting those who suffer from gambling addition by pledging financial support in return for addicts staying away from their casinos.
However, while it is good to see the operator offering support; critics are asking if this is just a PR stunt to keep the authorities happy in a bid to avoid tighter regulation which could be potentially damaging to profits.
Only time will tell if this unusual plan has legs or whether South Korean authorities have to act to stop addiction growing.

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