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Korean Authorities Fight Foreign Gambling Sites

With internet gambling expanding into the global market following the enactment of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act in the United States, more and more Koreans discover the wonderful world of online gambling. Although the Korean Internet Safety Commission is doing it’s best to prevent Koreans from visiting international websites that offer online betting, it is just impossible to stop the Koreans from gambling. Most of the big brands have already launched international versions of their websites. With multilingual user-interface and Korean speaking customer support – it is too hard to resist.

The Korean Internet Safety Commission is using the country’s Internet Service Providers in its efforts to stop Koreans from using online casino services. Korean ISP’s were asked to bloke nearly 550 foreign-based Korean-speaking websites, in March alone! The number of international sites that offer services to the Korean public is only growing every year. From 96 websites in December 2004, the number rose to 170 and 352 in 2005 and 2006, respectively. Koreans sure love to gamble, and with so many options on the net, it’s not surprising that the Korean Internet Safety Commission has its hands full. Every time a website is blocked, many other new ones appear. It’s an endless race.

Things were not always like this in Korea. The stands regarding land-based gambling and internet betting changed after the December gambling scandal of last year. Per-programmed Slot Machines were distributed throughout the country and many Koreans had fallen victim to the scam. The machines offered illegal payouts and had to be confiscated. All in all, this had changed the country’s approach towards gambling and the fight against betting had begun. Where land-based casinos do not have many options, online gambling providers do. Some of the firms have relocated their servers to foreign countries, like the U.S. or Canada, where Korean authorities have no influence. The internet is open for all and many Korean players can gamble online, on Korean-speaking websites, just as they did before the scandal.

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.

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