South Korean casinos have embarked on an exciting new venture with the recent approval of fully automated electronic table games (ETGs). The approval, given by the South Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, is a game-changer in the industry, breaking traditional norms and opening new possibilities for casino-goers.
What are Fully Automated Electronic Table Games?
The term “fully automated” in the context of ETGs refers to stand-alone electronic table games or stadium setups wherein the entirety of the playing sequence is managed by machine automation. This differs from the “manned” or “staffed” games, which involve a human dealer’s presence. The recent approval means the casinos can now feature ETGs that are devoid of human interference, heralding a new era of machine-controlled gaming in South Korea.
The Ministry’s Announcement and the Casino Sector
The formal approval for these game-changing ETGs came in February, as disclosed by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, which also serves as the regulating body for South Korea’s casino sector. However, the announcement was only made public on the Ministry’s official website on April 25, signaling a delayed yet significant move towards modernization in the country’s casino landscape.
Implementing Changes: The Case of Jeju Dream Tower Casino
Jeju Dream Tower Casino, a foreigner-only venue located on the idyllic holiday island of Jeju, was quick to adapt to this novel change. Following the ministry’s ruling, the casino transformed an ETG stadium with 71 seats into a fully automated setup. Managed by Korea Exchange-listed Lotte Tour Development Co Ltd, the casino is one of the first to adopt this innovative approach.
Other Casinos and Their ETG Strategies
The influence of this change is not limited to Jeju Dream Tower. Various other casinos across South Korea have started to include ETGs in their repertoire. Kangwon Land Resort, the only casino in the country allowing local wagers, runs an ETG stadium, though it hasn’t transitioned to full automation yet. Grand Korea Leisure Co Ltd, managing three foreigner-only casinos under the Seven Luck brand, offers semi-automated ETGs, maintaining the potential to fully automate in the future.
On the other hand, some casinos such as Shinhwa World Casino in Jeju, run by Hong Kong-listed Shin Hwa World Ltd (formerly known as Landing International Ltd), currently do not offer fully automated ETGs.
The Role of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism
The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (MCST) plays a central role in managing the Department of Tourism, Culture, Art, Religion, and Sports in South Korea. With its headquarters situated in the Sejong Government Complex in Sejong City (having previously been located in Jongno District, Seoul), the ministry supervises over 60 departments and multiple branches including the National Museum, the National Theater, and the National Library.
Since the tenure of its first Minister of Culture, novelist Lee O-young, the MCST has consistently worked towards fostering growth and innovation in the sectors under its purview. The recent approval of fully automated ETGs is just one more step towards that goal.
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