Korea casino stocks rally on North optimism

Shares in South Korea’s casino operators rallied on Tuesday ahead of a summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un on hopes for greater cross border cooperation, including a potential casino project, local media reports.

Kim is reportedly seeking U.S. investment in a casino in Wonsan on the North’s eastern coast. Newspaper Donga Ilbo reported that senior North Korean official, Kim Yong Chol, vice chairman of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party, had requested “investment support” for a casino and other tourist attractions at a meeting at the White House on Friday.

The state-run casino operator Grand Korea Leisure jumped 6.52 percent to 28,600 won, and its smaller rival Paradise Group vaulted 5.84 percent to 19,950 won.

The two leaders will meet in Singapore on June 12th.

North Korea already has two small casinos and has been trying to attract investors to a cruise ship program.

The program would link its eastern mountain resort area to the Russian Far East and Southeast Asia, according to reports last year. The guideline said a foreign company or a consortium would be entitled to operate a tourist ship with an investment of US$10-20 million over the next 10 years.

It also recently lifted a ban on betting on horse races.