According to the latest figures of the South Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism’s Games Rating Board, the number of illegal online gambling halls have quadrupled to 113 during the first six months of 2011.
A disturbing trend has also been observed: gamers tend to forsake video game arcades to join online gambling parlors.
The recent study resulted in a detailed overview of the industry breaking down operators into categories. Providers of online casinos in South Korea, allowing gamers the option to convert virtual points into hard cash, were deemed illegal.
Such conversion is carried out through a complicated system of transactions, where virtual points are won and later used to purchase virtual items. The operators then exchange these virtual prizes into cold hard cash, which is naturally illegal under current South Korean gambling laws.
The fact that such transactions are executed online makes it extremely for law enforcement to detect and stop them. Online gaming operators found to be supporting gambling are subject to revocation of their business license after third violation.
License revocations for such activities have risen to twenty in the first half of 2011 according to South Korea gambling news. Last year no licenses have been revoked says South Korean Games Rating Board. A spokesperson for the Games Rating Board said: “Gambling based on personal computers is becoming harder to monitor and we need a larger number of personnel trained with sophisticated skills.”
South Korean gambling market is an extremely restricted and regulated environment, which offers local residents only limited gambling options. These include lottery, betting on racing, and a single casino in Gangwon Province.
Law enforcement has growing concerns that online gambling is fueling internet addiction and promised to address the issue and restrict the time gamers spend indulging in online gaming.