What do you think of when you think of North Korea?
Today we are going to talk about casinos in North Korea. Now let Ultron give you an exclusive look at how two casinos in this mysterious country have subtly carved out a place in the gray area of North Korea!
Quick question: What do you think of when you think of North Korea? Fatty Kim!
I think the first thing that comes to mind for many people is the “Fatty Kim”, right? But today we are not here to introduce Kim’s funny hair style or his harsh words to the United States and South Korea. It’s not to tease Lee Seol-joon about whether he had an affair with Kim’s aunt, which is a crap show that no one watches in midnight reruns. Usually this kind of drama code only in the male handsome female beauty such conditions, only to move the screening time to the golden hour, or let people spend time discussing the value.
Today we are going to talk about casinos in North Korea.
There are casinos in North Korea! Yes, there are not only casinos in North Korea, there are two casinos! That’s amazing! Let’s find out what’s so great about the casinos in this mysterious country!
The Casino Pyongyang, located on the ground floor of the Yanggakdo Hotel in Pyongyang, was established by Macau’s gambling king Stanley Ho in cooperation with the North Korean government, and because of this cooperation, Ho was targeted by the FBI and CIA for allegedly laundering money for North Korea. But this kind of thing is even more complicated than the relationship between mother-in-law and daughter-in-law, so it’s not really suitable for people like us who can’t even handle domestic affairs to say anything.
Although the Pyongyang Casino is located on North Korean soil, the North Korean authorities severely restrict the casinos from entertaining North Korean people, so basically all the people who hang out here are foreigners, with mainlanders accounting for nearly 95% of the total. Since there are so many of them, we’ll call the foreigners mainlanders later.
Usually, the only mainlanders who come to this casino are those who are in North Korea for business or to do business, but some are also tourists. For those mainlanders who want to gamble in North Korea, they usually choose to go to the Royal Entertainment Hotel in Rason City. There is no other reason for this, one is the location and convenient transportation, and the other is the free room and board if you exchange 3,000 chips! Anyway, we will introduce the Emperor’s Casino later, so we won’t dwell on this side first.
As I mentioned earlier, the Pyongyang Casino is run by Macau’s gambling king Stanley Ho, and the guests are mainly mainlanders, so there are Chinese signs everywhere in the casino, and even the staff are mainlanders or Macau people (I believe Macau people would like to have their own separate names), so don’t be afraid of not knowing An Nyeong Ha Se Yo when you come here, you just need to know how many chips to exchange!
It is strange that North Korea is provoking the United States all the time, either by testing nuclear bombs or by saying that its intercontinental missiles can reach the U.S. mainland, but this exchange of chips is only in U.S. dollars? It is said that there are no brothers at the poker table. I would say that there is no national hatred at the gambling table. You see, these two countries are living together peacefully here!
Now that the chips are exchanged, let’s play a game! I want to play Dragon Tiger, sorry, but I don’t have it. I want to play Craps, sorry, but I don’t have it. So what do you have? Sir, we have slot machines, craps, blackjack and baccarat, all of which you can play, but as for what you just said, we don’t have any of them.
Oh, by the way, welcome to North Korea.
Imperial Hotel & Casino
Located in Rason City, North Korea, the Royal Hotel & Casino was established by Emperor Group owner Albert Yeung in 1995 when he participated in a North Korean economic and trade delegation and was introduced to the hotel by a powerful person. The casino became famous not because of its new games or high-end equipment, but because of the gambling of Cai Haowen, the former director of the Traffic and Transportation Management Office in Yanbian, Jilin, who embezzled $3.51 million in public funds.
Similarly, this casino is a concept where only friends of the road can die but not the road of the poor, so all North Koreans (except staff) are not allowed to enter and are strictly controlled. Although the casino is aimed at all North Koreans, for a North Korean civilian with an average monthly income of only $25, even if you take your entire monthly salary out of your pocket, you still won’t be able to place your basic bet. So it is clear that this rule is aimed at the top government officials.
Since the Central Government’s policy has always been to fight corruption, and since gambling has nothing to do with it, people who want to gamble will find a way to go to the border with other countries to have a good time! Therefore, the Royal Entertainment Hotel, with its convenient location and five-star specifications, is naturally the favorite of gamblers in the three northeastern provinces. In addition, travel agencies in Yanbian will also promote this kind of North Korea leisure tour, so it contributes to the phenomenon of Chinese customers money into North Korea.
When you arrive at the entrance of the casino at the Royal Entertainment Hotel, the first thing you will see is a neon lighted jogging light with the four traditional Chinese congratulatory words “Congratulations and Fortune” written on it, which is self-explanatory. Naturally, you have to exchange chips before you start gambling, whether it’s at the Goat’s Point or the Emperor, it’s all in U.S. dollars, but later on, it’s also available in Renminbi. If you exchange 3,000 USD chips at once, congratulations, you’ll get free room and board during your stay!
After all, North Korea is not the same as Macau, so there are inevitably differences in specifications, equipment and game types, so when we arrive in North Korea, we just think, “Wow! I can’t believe I’m gambling in the most mysterious place in the world,” and that’s exciting enough! So it’s no surprise when you see 52 slot machines and only 16 tables of blackjack and roulette!
After all, Rason is a special economic zone, unlike Pyongyang, which is under the feet of Fatty Kim, so the atmosphere here is always more relaxed, and the people who come to play bet more than in the Pyongyang casino. According to reliable sources, Pyongyang Casino makes a monthly casino profit of only tens of thousands of dollars (not including the taxes to be paid to the North Korean government), while the Royal Entertainment Hotel contributes about $530,000 just from the civil servants who lose public money, not to mention other earnings. So on this point, Yeung’s vision in choosing the site is slightly better than Stanley Ho’s.
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