Online Gambling in Korea: Popular, But IllegalPublished June 10, 2008 by OCR Editor
Amid reports that millions of South Koreans gamble online, the illegal status of the industry leaves players' fate to criminal elements.
One online gambling site that caters to players in South Korea boasts 3 million visitors a day. Indeed, the South Korean online gambling community is estimated at millions.
But the exact number, not to mention the number of those who develop gambling addictions is unknown. Keeping this information in the dark is the illegal status of online casinos in the country. The problem is that it keeps the industry in the shadows as well.
An MBC TV program, "PD Notebook," reported on an increasing trend of gambling addictions around online gambling sites. The cases are unfortunate by any standard.
With an outright illegal status, the selection of online casino sites offered to South Koreans leaves them prone to illegal cyber-money dealers who have one mission - to rip players of their funds.
These sites even include Korean-specific games, such as a certain Hangame cited in the program.
Government agencies are busy tracing and persecuting illegal money dealers by offering compensation to players who report on such illegal operations. The police announced it will dedicate hundreds of officers for the mission.
But the fact is that online gambling is already here, in South Korea as in the rest of the world.
While the illegal operations should indeed be shut down, there is no way a government can fight a movement of millions from playing online.