The Paradise Casino Incheon in South Korea is a spectacular gambling venue, decked out in lipstick- red and burnished gold Art Deco style embellishments along with a beautiful veined marble floor and forests of trailing hanging lights. This is a gambling temple fit to host a party for any of the James Bonds, featuring state-of-the-art technology, a strict fair gaming policy and an atmosphere that oozes the kind of lucky vibe that any high-roller would love to bask in for hours. The only problem is that this K-Style Premium Casino, which also boasts a glamorous hotel, spa, night club, theaters and its very own carnival (complete with an in-house roller coaster), is currently under a travel ban imposed by the Chinese Government.
This is a huge deterrent to gamblers from China, who have been flocking to this place to enjoy what the casino owners, Sega Sammy Holdings, are calling “art-tainment”. This glamorous venue, certainly lives up to this description as the walls and common spaces are embellished with the very best sculptural installations and wall pieces that international art stars have to offer, including a solid gold and red enamel winged lucky horse by English artist Damien Hirst, and an enormous lucky gold and black enamelled gourd by famed Japanese artist Yayoi Kasama. Eventually, this temple of wealth and good taste will have 2,740 art pieces on display, which will put it on par with major museums. One of the most famous features of the hotel lobby is a cloud of slowly shifting crystals, by South Korean artist Miyoon, that changes position to create a different cluster of rainbows every hour.
However, it seems that politics, art, and gambling are not mingling together these days, creating a cocktail of suspicion and hearsay that was not helped by the massacre at the Resorts World Casino on June 2nd, during which a tournament was sabotaged by a gunman who went on a shooting rampage in the casino and hotel, primarily targeting gamblers. It also doesn’t help that Paradise is right on the border of the capital of South Korea, Seoul, which puts it right within sights of North Korean nuclear missiles, or that the polished-playground for Asia’s most well-heeled in South Korea is perceived by China as stealing business from the flailing gambling industry in Macau.
The travel ban came as a result of South Korea’s acquisition of a large plot of land that was to be used for co-joint missile program with the US, which China perceived as a threat to its ally, North Korea.
However, despite all of the travel ban, Paradise city is going forward with its plan to host the kick-off Asian Poker Tour, from August 12-21, 2017, which features a very affordable buy-in of $985 U.S (1100000 KRW) as well as Head Hunter, Monster stack, and High Roller Events. After the nine-day action packed schedule, the Asian Poker Tour will head back over to Resorts World Manila in Pasay, Philippines to continue part 2 of the tour.