South Korea To Crackdown On Illegal Gambling Sites and PlayersNovember 5, 2015 1:36 pm
Life could soon become a lot riskier for those online gambling operators offering their services in South Korea, as well as the citizens determined to continue playing on the country’s illegal online gambling sites. According to the South Korean National Police Agency (NPA), running an Internet gambling website will soon be reclassified as the more serious crime of participating in organized crime, with charges to be elevated from the present 70 million won ($61,500) fine, and up to seven years behind bars, to a possible life sentence for operators.
Gambling is generally forbidden in South Korea, and despite boasting a number of high-end casinos, these venues are only accessible for overseas business travelers and tourists. Despite the country’s clear anti-gambling stance, however, numerous offshore operators, as well as domestic crime organizations, have chosen to ignore the law and cater to Koreans, a situation authorities are now determined to stamp out. As an extract from the Korea Herald explained recently:
“Gambling is becoming a serious problem in Korean society. One of the first steps to fight gambling is cracking down on.. those who arrange gambling in casinos and gambling houses overseas and those who run illegal Internet sites.”
In addition to gambling operators, those gamblers choosing to play on these sites will also be subject to more stringent penalties and fines, including the possibility of prison time. While prosecuting the countless thousands of Korean gamblers accessing illegal sites may prove impossible, the NPA did say its initial focus will be on those people who have gambled on such sites on at least three different occasions.
“Although we have prosecuted only habitual gamblers and gamblers betting a large amount of money in the past, we will charge all gamblers without exceptions, regardless of how often they gamble or how much money they bet,” a NPA statement explained.
Finally, web hosting companies and computer programmers willfully aiding criminal iGambling organizations will also be prosecuted, with South Korean authorities announcing the formation of a new task force to support police efforts to regulate and prosecute operators and players alike.