North Korea no longer wants to do casino business
In North Korea, there were plans for a large casino to be built near the Chinese border. Now we have learned that this casino will never open its doors, because the project has just been scrapped.
20 out of 30 floors have already been completed
North Korea is a country that stands apart from many others. Even though there are few opportunities for people to leave the country and go abroad, the authorities are trying to attract more and more international tourists in order to revive the poor economy. Therefore, a project for the construction of a land based casino was started. The casino is located in the Sinuiju region, a special economic zone on the north western border of China. Work on the complex had even begun and 20 of the 30 floors of the complex had already been completed when the project was formally abandoned. Why such a turn around? There are two theories.
Pressure from China
Some experts believe that China had pressured North Korea to end this project. The goal of the casino was clear: it was supposed to attract many Chinese tourists, as gambling is still banned in China, with the exception of the two state-run lotteries and casinos in Macau. Since China does not want its citizens to go overseas to spend their money, the government may have put pressure on North Korea. North Korea faces many international sanctions, and it would not be wise to upset its key economic partner and ally.
The client became short on funds
Some experts have said that the first hypothesis is not very credible, as there is already a casino in North Korea in the Rajin-Sonbong Special Economic Zone near the Chinese border and China did not object to the construction. These experts instead believe that the construction of the new casino was stopped because the developer had become short on funds. The Dutch-Chinese billionaire Yang Bin was probably forced to turn to foreign capital to finance the project, but this was ultimately unsuccessful.
What is known, however, is that about ten years ago, the businessman was arrested in China and imprisoned for tax evasion. He was released in 2016. Having its casino so close to the border between China and North Korea could also have been reason enough for the Chinese authorities to put an end to the project. So we do not know exactly why the work on the casino was interrupted and can only speculate.