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Casino Law Exploited in South Korean Arcades

It seems South Korea has found loopholes in the country’s gambling law and opened 13,000 adult arcades and betting rooms, fully equipped with slot machines or simulated horse racing games, according to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. Modest payouts for modest bets are offered in these casino style arcade rooms. Gamblers are supposedly allowed to bet limited amounts of real money on the horse races shown on huge display screens, or hopefully win a gift certificate at the slot machines. Casino culture is definitely in South Korea.

An average of 159 arcades per district in Seoul exist, which has forced the percentage up by 70 percent from 2002, according to a recent study conducted by JoongAng Ilbo of data from 2002 to 2005. The operators of these adult casino arcades make profits estimated around 1.2 trillion won ($1.7 billion) annually, meaning that casino gamblers are wagering around 33 billion each day.

Adult casino arcades were allowed to be opened thanks to the 2001 law regarding singing, video, and gaming rooms. Operators simply registered their casino arcades at a district office. Because online casinos and casino gambling in general have become so popular, it will continue to be a huge challenge for many countries to ban our make illegal the growing casino scene. Casino fans will continue to find ways and places to play, legal or not, and the governments will have to choose whether or not to begin regulating and recognizing this trend by law, or fight back and try to keep gambling away from their citizens.

OCA News Editor

Jenny McKinnley is OCA’s financial correspondent. After spending years on the trading floor in both NY and London, she offers insight from the inside out on world financial news and events.