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May 14, 2024

South Korea Cracks Down on "Hold'em Pubs" with New Gambling Guidelines

Aaron Mitchell
Written byAaron MitchellWriter
Researched byJavier FernandezResearcher

Key Takeaways:

  • South Korea introduces guidelines to address illegal gambling in "hold'em pubs."
  • The move involves collaboration between the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the National Police Agency, and the National Gambling Control Commission.
  • Violators of the new rules could face up to seven years in prison or a 70 million won fine.
  • The guidelines classify 20 types of games as casino business, including poker and blackjack.
  • The only legal casino in South Korea remains Kangwon Land Casino, with strict gambling laws in place.

In a bold stride to clamp down on the growing concern of illegal gambling, South Korea has laid down a fresh set of guidelines, targeting the so-called “hold’em pubs”. These drinking establishments have been under the radar for moonlighting as pseudo-casinos, a practice that has flourished due to a legal loophole, as first reported by the Korean Herald.

South Korea Cracks Down on "Hold'em Pubs" with New Gambling Guidelines

A Collaborative Effort to Seal the Loophole

In a significant crackdown, the South Korean Government, alongside the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the National Police Agency, and the National Gambling Control Commission, has unveiled guidelines to eradicate pseudo-casino operations. This initiative follows a recent amendment to Article 26 of the Tourism Promotion Act, which now clearly defines what constitutes a 'casino-like operation'. According to the revised article, any non-casino operator that offers casino business, thereby granting financial benefits to some while causing financial deficits to others, is engaging in illegal activities. The penalties are stern, with violators facing up to seven years behind bars or a hefty fine of 70 million won (approximately $51,000).

What Falls Under "Casino Business"?

The guidelines elaborate on what constitutes casino business, listing 20 types of games, including popular ones like slot machines, roulette, blackjack, dice or craps, poker, baccarat, bingo, and mahjong. This classification aims to provide a clear boundary between legal entertainment and illegal gambling operations.

The Unique Case of "Hold’em Pubs"

Hold’em Pubs, the focal point of the crackdown, are establishments where patrons can engage in games that mimic casino activities, with the potential of cash or other benefits as winnings. These pubs have been skating on the thin ice of legality, offering gambling services under the guise of normal business operations. The government's guideline stresses an end to these illegal activities, showcasing a firm stance against gambling outside the legal framework.

Gambling in South Korea: A Tightly Regulated Affair

In South Korea, gambling is a tightly controlled activity, with the law prohibiting it except for 'small bets placed for fun' or within government-sanctioned facilities. Kangwon Land Casino stands as the sole legal gambling establishment, a privilege extended under the Special Act on the Assistance to the Development of Abandoned Mine Areas. This exception underscores the country's restrictive gambling laws, aimed at curbing the social issues associated with gambling addiction.

A Growing Concern: Online Gambling Among Teens

The government's crackdown extends beyond physical establishments to the digital realm, addressing the rising concern of online gambling addiction among teenagers. This move signifies a comprehensive approach to combat the gambling issue, recognizing the evolving landscape of how gambling activities are accessed and the demographic changes in gambling habits.

Engaging the Audience

What are your thoughts on South Korea's approach to tackling illegal gambling and its efforts to safeguard the youth from online gambling addiction? Do you think other countries should follow suit, or are there better strategies to address these issues? Share your views in the comments below.

(First reported by: Korean Herald)

About the author
Aaron Mitchell
Aaron Mitchell
About

Aaron "SlotScribe" Mitchell, Ireland's very own slot enthusiast, effortlessly merges the classic tales of the Emerald Isle with the digital spins of today. As a prolific writer for SlotsRank, he unveils the magic behind the reels, captivating readers across the globe.

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