Chinese gamblers boost fortunes of North Korea’s Emperor Casino

    Published in: Latest IntelligenceThe number of Yanbian license plates in the carpark of the Emperor Resort & Casino in North Korea’s remote Rason district leave little doubt as to the hotel’s main clientele.After a troubled past, the hotel appears to be doing a roaring trade, fueled by increasing travel and investment from mainland China. And most signs indicate the trend is set to continue.“There were gamblers with plastic shopping bags of 100 RMB (US$16.4) notes going into the casino – it was just crazy,” said a longtime North Korea watcher who stayed at the hotel last month and asked not to be named.The resort, owned by Hong Kong’s Emperor Group, first opened its doors in 2000, some nine years after the insular Pyongyang regime designated the northeastern province of Rason a special economic zone.However, for years Rason languished with geopolitical tensions, international sanctions, and domestic policies all serving to...

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