South Korea’s largest casino, Kangwon Land is facing the heat of allegations of favoritism. The state-owned casino has been accused of favoring a few of the Electronic Gaming Machine suppliers.
South Korea’s People Power Party Representative Ku Ja-keun, said that the three companies, Taeshin Inpack, Nongshim Data System Corp (NDS), and KGS have claimed half of the EGM supply contacts for Kangwon Land since 2013. The representative alleged that some of the contracts were awarded despite clear contract violations of the tender process.
Coming back to the suppliers, Taeshin Inpack, is a subsidiary of AmorePacific. The chairman of AmorePacific is Suh Kyung-bae, son-in-law of NDS Chairman, Shin Chu-ho. Now, Suh is also the cousin of the heads of both Taeshin and KGS.
The three companies have bid sometimes as separate and as consortium as well.
Representative Ku has called for a probe based on certain irregularities in the procurement process. During an instance, NDS allegedly received a contract after placing the bid post-deadline. Kangwon Land allegedly agreed to ignore a stipulation that casino gear includes a roll-back feature, NDS claimed to offer it but didn’t.
As per the local media, representative Ku also alleged that NDS was allowed to make changes to the bid of KRW3B. The bid was allegedly opened by Kangwon land before the bid process and asked for supplementing documents. The rule says that all the documents must be opened in parallel.
The casino however declined all the allegations. It is yet to be seen whether the story goes for escalation or remains a political debate where the opposition targets the government. Kangwon Land is the only casino in South Korea to have gambling for the locals. The revenue of the casino is greater than the combined revenue of all the 16-foreigner only casinos in South Korea.
The casino has opened its mass floor gaming last week after it was forced to closed in February due to the COVID19 pandemic.
On the other hand, the foreigner-only casinos have suffered a lot due to the closure of the borders. Grand Korea Leisure, another state-owned but foreigner-only casino reported 76.5% reduced revenue in September on a year-on-year basis.
With the border restrictions in its place and the COVID19 pandemic refused to slow down, the chances of the casinos booming again look bleak in near future.