Authorities crush China/Korea gambling ring worth $3.9b

Posted: Oct 25, 2022 11:26 Category: Asia , Online , Regulatory , Posted by Sharon Singleton

Law enforcement authorities have busted a China-based online gambling ring that was also operating in South Korea and was worth KRW5.7 trillion ( $3.9 billion.)

According to Yonhap, 20 suspects were arrested and a further 171 are under investigation, but weren’t detained. 

The group allegedly ran gambling sites from January 2014 to July last year. The server for the operation was based in China, with local operating units in South Korea.

South Koreans are only able to gamble in one casino in a remote area of the country, operated by Kangwon Land. Some in person sports betting, such as horse racing, and lotteries are also available, but within strict limits. Any other online gambling is strictly banned.

Despite the restrictions, South Koreans are known to be keen gamblers, with Kangwon Land generating more gross gambling revenue than all of the countries’ foreigner-only casinos combined.

During Covid, there were calls by the industry for the government to ease its policies given the impact of border closures on the properties that were solely reliant on tourism, but to date there has been no change in policy. 

China also continues to be highly active in cracking down on any illegal gambling operations within, or outside its borders. 

In May this year, China said it has identified and stopped more than 90,000 people suspected of leaving the country to gamble since 2021 and vowed to continue to step up its campaign.

The National Immigration Administration said it had “achieved remarkable” results in its crackdown. It said authorities had discovered 11,000 cases of illegal cross-border gambling and successfully blocked 15,000 people. It has also broken up 290 gangs who were facilitating cross-border gambling trips. 

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