Category Archives: South Korea

South Korean lawmakers charged over Kangwon Land hiring scandal

Two South Korean opposition lawmakers have been charged in connection with their alleged involvement in the hiring scandal inside the Kangwon Land casino.

South Korean lawmakers charged over Kangwon Land hiring scandalKBS World Radio reported that Rep. Yeom Dong-yeol and Rep. Kweon Seong-dong, members of the conservative Liberty Korea Party, were indicted for abuse of power and business interference following allegations that they wielded their influence to ensure the employment of their acquaintances in Kangwon Land.

The case against Kweon and Yeom stemmed from the investigation conducted by South Korean prosecutors against former Kangwon Land CEO Choi Heung-jip, who was accused of hiring hundreds of people based on their political connections.

The hiring scandal, which rocked the governing Democratic Party, was dubbed ‘Kangwon Land Gate.’ It was also described as “a crime which would have been possible only in the 1960s or ‘70s.”

During their investigation, prosecutors alleged that Kweon’s former secretary, only identified in local news reports as Kim, bagged a managerial-level job for checking water quality at the casino after the politician pulled some strings.

Kangwon reportedly had a list of applicants—33 job seekers to be exact—but Choi ordered officials to hire Kim.

The state lawyers found that a total of 50 individuals landed a job at the casino because of their ties to Kweon and Yeom. The prosecutors earlier sought to have Yeom arrested, but parliament refused to hand him over to the authorities. Kweon managed to get a judge to quash the arrest warrant request against him.

Last year, Kangwon Land’s operator issued an official statement admitting that 493 of the 518 people hired between July 2011 and February 2014 got their jobs primarily on the strength of their ties to politicians or other influential figures.

In March, South Korean President Moon Jae-in ordered the dismissal of 226 Kangwon Land employees after learning that they secured their jobs through unlawful means.


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Paradise Co extends losses in Q2

South Korea’s largest casino operator Paradise Co. Ltd suffered yet another multi-million loss in the second quarter of the year despite the opening of its newest casino resort Paradise City.

In a disclosure to the Korean Composite Stock Price Index, the casino operator incurred an operating loss of KRW27.3 billion (US$24.24 million) in April to July 2017 period against KRW32.8 billion ($29.31 million) a year earlier.

Paradise Co extends losses in Q2Total sales revenue of Paradise Co. plummeted 26 percent to KRW139.9 billion ($124.3 million) in the second quarter, with casino sales tumbling to 31.1 percent to KRW114.9 billion ($102.05 million).

The company attributed the dismal performance of their gaming segments to weak VIP luck, as well as a decline in the number of Chinese VIP customers following a diplomatic row between South Korea and China.

Since March, South Korea’s casinos have suffered from the ongoing diplomatic spat between South Korea and China – Jeju’s traditional main supplier of international tourists – over the deployment of a US anti-missile missile system. Bejing, which traditionally sides with North Korea in international disputes, subsequently put the kibosh on group tours – by air or sea – to Jeju.

Data from the Korea Tourism Organization showed that the number of Chinese visitors to South Korea – an important source of customers for foreigner-only South Korean casinos – fell 41 percent year-on-year in the first six months of 2017.

This explains why Paradise Co posted a table drop of KRW 1.12 trillion ($994 million) for the second quarter, compared to KRW1.20 trillion ($1.06 billion) in the prior-year period. Chinese VIP patrons to the firm’s casinos accounted for 34.8 percent of the total table drop in the April to June period, according to Tuesday’s statement.

In the second quarter of 2016, Chinese VIPs had accounted for 50.6 percent of the total table drop in that period.

The revenue results were collated from Paradise’s four foreigner-only casinos: Walkerhill in Seoul; Jeju Grand on Jeju Island; Busan Casino in the southern port city of Busan; and Paradise City, in Incheon, near the main international airport serving the country’s capital Seoul.


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South Korean K-pop star jailed one year for gambling $3m online

south-korea-singer-jailed-online-gamblingA former K-pop singer has been sentenced to a year in South Korean prison for blowing over $3m on an illegal online gambling site and lying to the authorities investigating his activity.

On Monday, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported that the Seoul Southern District Court had sentenced Jung Jin Woo (pictured), a member of the pop group M2M who got his big break via an Idol-style television program, to one year in prison for illegal gambling.

Court documents indicate that the 32-year-old Jung was originally cautioned over his gambling activity way back in 2007, but the warning didn’t take. Jung was again caught gambling online in 2014, but he convinced his mother’s boyfriend to claim that he’d been the one gambling on Jung’s online account. Mom’s squeeze was eventually slapped with a KRW 1m (US $900) fine.

But Jung’s close call failed to dissuade him from continuing to gamble online, and he even acted as a promoter for the unidentified online sports betting site from August to September last year.

Eventually, the authorities closed in on Jung, who reportedly spent a whopping KRW 3.5b ($3.1m) in 1,500 separate transactions with the betting site over the years. Jung later told the authorities that he gambled online to make money to maintain the flash life of a celebrity that his fans had come to expect.

Jung eventually copped to his misdeeds, but in doing so, revealed the subterfuge involving his step-father. The court claimed this deception played a major role in Jung’s sentence. Worse, step-dad’s false confession earned him a sentence of two years of probation.

Jung isn’t the first South Korean celebrity to fall afoul of the country’s strict anti-gambling laws. Numerous K-pop stars, TV personalities and sports figures have all been forced to do the bow of shame after getting caught engaging in illegal gambling activity.

Incredibly, South Korea’s anti-gambling laws don’t even stop at the water’s edge. South Korean citizens are subject to prosecution even if they’re gambling in a jurisdiction in which such activity is completely above board, although prosecutions tend to be reserved for serious spenders, as leniency can be shown to those who gamble “just for momentary pleasure.”



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South Koreans watch lotteries as fewer speculative than casinos

south-korea-lotteryLottery activity in South Korea surged in 2016 in spite of, or because of, a souring economy.

Official lottery figures won’t produced right until February, but Monday brought the launch of a survey by the Korea Lottery Fee beneath the Ministry of Strategy and Finance, which showed just about 56% of participants purchased at least 1 lottery merchandise in 2016. Lotto, the country’s most popular lottery merchandise, reported sales growing nine% in 2016 to KRW three.55t (US $3b), a new record.

Lottery participation between these generating fewer than KRW 2m (US $1,seven-hundred) per month just about doubled to 10.2%, which critics are currently slamming as an indicator of the lottery preying on these with the least discretionary earnings.

Nonetheless, Ministry officials mentioned there was “no verified correlation amongst financial slowdowns and lottery sales,” and the figures showed the best lottery participation price (fifty two.1%) between persons in the best financial bracket (over KRW 4m/month) and the 2nd-best participation (24.1%) between these generating amongst KRW 3m-4m.

A little fewer than 30% of participants reported enjoying the lottery the moment a month, though about 21% performed just about every week. But about ninety% of lottery gamers devote fewer than KRW 10k ($eight.50) each individual time they buy lottery goods.

Questioned why they participate in the lottery, forty one.6% mentioned they favored the point that lottery revenue went to help fewer fortunate customers of Korean culture, though 30.6% mentioned the lottery presented them expectations of hope and 17% mentioned it was simply just a variety of amusement.

Koreans hold a far more favorable watch of their lotteries than other kinds of gambling. Questioned regardless of whether lotteries had been speculative, fourteen.eight% of participants agreed. That selection surged to ninety one.5% when applied to betting on horseraces, though ninety three.5% uncovered casino gambling to be associated with a larger hazard of decline.

Kangwon Land is the only 1 of South Korea’s 17 casinos that lets area citizens to gamble, but the casino was lately the issue of a very unflattering Bloomberg short article that centered on gambling addicts in the communities bordering the mountain vacation resort.

Kangwon Land acknowledges that there are about 500 present citizens of the nearby town of Sabuk who are homeless as a consequence of gambling losses. In accordance to a 2016 survey of 300 area problem gamblers by Kwandong College, the common ‘casino panhandler’ is a male in his fifties who formerly lived in Seoul but now cannot depart Sabuk thanks to his gambling losses.

In its defense, Kangwon Land’s supporters place out that the casino – which was launched to boost the area economy following the closure of a mining operation – has contributed over KRW 6t ($5.1b) in tax revenue considering the fact that it opened in 2000 and the vacation resort also presents most of the jobs in the area communities.

Kangwon Land is getting ready new ‘cooling off’ measures to offer with problem gambling activity, including banning entry for up to three months for persons who cannot handle their wagering.



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Virus-absolutely free Paradise casinos rebound bid to conclude Kangwon Land community monopoly

August 5, 2016


south-korea-virus-free-casinosSouth Korean on line casino operator Paradise Co Ltd created a breathtaking return to sort in Q2, many thanks to the absence of a killer disease stalking the state.

In Q2 2015, Paradise saw earnings at its five foreigners-only casinos drop by nearly 50 percent following an outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome killed dozens of men and women when other Asian nations – China, in unique – warned their citizens to steer obvious of the state.

With that risk now driving them, Paradise saw profits rise nearly one-3rd to KRW 189b (US $170m) in the three months ending June 30. Operating revenue appreciated an even larger sized bounce, climbing a whopping 147.six% to KRW 32.7b, when net revenue rose 113.six% to KRW 27b.

Meanwhile, Kangwon Land, the only one of South Korea’s seventeen casinos to which community inhabitants are permitted entry, reported a additional modest profits bump (KRW 411.8b, +5.nine%) but net income rose a respectable 27.1% to KRW 123.7b.

Daiwa Securities analysts stated Kangwon Land’s gains have been no many thanks to VIPs, as significant-roller profits fell 2.7% calendar year-on-calendar year. By contrast, mass current market tables and slots have been up 5.5% and eleven.six% respectively. VIP gaming accounted for 16% of the total pie, when mass tables and slots notched 45% and 36%, respectively, and non-gaming profits contributed the remaining three%.

Kangwon Land’s monopoly on community gamblers does not expire until 2025 but a team of opposition politicians would like to speed up that timetable. Members of the People’s Get together submitted legislation this week that would authorize a locals on line casino in the Saemangeum tidal flat spot in North Jeolla Province, located on the country’s southwest coastline.

The Korea Periods quoted People’s Get together Rep. Kim Kwan-Youthful expressing North Jeolla Province lawmakers had agreed to support the new on line casino prepare, which would need amending the legislation that stipulates only a foreigners-only on line casino can be developed in the area.

To sway those people who worry about locals struggling damage from gambling, Kim has prompt charging an admission cost of KRW 50k to 100k, significantly larger than the KRW 9k cost billed by Kangwon Land. Kim also prompt capping month to month visits at 10 for every resident.

A previous prepare that would have permitted locals to gamble in shipboard casinos docking in South Korean ports fulfilled with intense resistance from Kangwon Land and the inhabitants of Gangwon Province. Anticipating similar resistance, Kim has prompt (a) letting Kangwon Land’s operators commit in the Saemangeum on line casino project, or (b) diverting a slice of the earnings to Gangwon Province.

Even with Kim’s initiatives, the expectation is that the prepare will not fly, as previous initiatives to persuade South Korea to relax its no-locals plan have unsuccessful to sway legislators, and the People’s Get together lacks the clout to rally adequate votes on these kinds of a potentially contentious issue.

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North Korea’s illegal on line gambling earns routine shut to a billion dollars

July seven, 2016


north-korea-online-gamblingNorth Korea earns shut to one particular billion dollars per calendar year from illicit world-wide-web exercise, largely through illegal on line gambling corporations.

Yoo Dong-ryol, head of the Korea Institute of Liberal Democracy and a former senior researcher at the Korean Countrywide Law enforcement University, designed the declare at the South Korean military’s annual stability conference in Seoul on Thursday.

Yoo stated North Korea operates “tens of hubs in China and Southeast Asia” aimed at generating sorely required foreign forex to prop up the isolated routine. Collectively, Yoo estimated these hubs make all over KRW 1t (US $864m) by “developing and selling illegal gambling plans, functioning gambling websites using names of foreign nationals and stealing cyber revenue as a result of hacking.”

Korea JoongAng Daily quoted Yoo declaring illegal gambling software package plans are bought for tens of millions of received, with even more profitable prices for updates. Yoo stated the North hires nearby residents in other Asian nations around the world to run the gambling websites, with the profits break up “six to 4 or 50 percent-and-50 percent.”

The conference also heard from an intelligence formal who claimed the North Korean gambling software package was “embedded with destructive code” that was utilised to hijack personal computers for mass cyber assaults. Yoo stated the North had not too long ago extra 800 hackers, bringing the regime’s total hacking drive to six,800 individuals.

Last Oct, South Korea’s Countrywide Intelligence Company estimated there were being a total of 1,100 North Korean brokers working on line gambling websites that directly qualified South Korean bettors. Other brokers were being reportedly concentrating on on line function-participating in gamers by selling prized in-match digital products.

During the 2014 FIFA Earth Cup, Cambodian authorities arrested fifteen North Korean nationals for working an illegal on line football betting operation out of a rented villa in Phnom Penh. In addition to the normal cache of personal computers and betting documents, the authorities seized a significant $eight.6m in wagering money.

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South Korean casinos far too tiny for junkets Kangwon Land will make Forbes 2000

June ten, 2016


kangwon-land-casino-forbest-listSouth Korea’s on line casino current market is even now far too tiny to benefit from a totally formulated romance with junket operators, in accordance to a PricewaterhouseCoopers analyst.

Junkets have built them selves integral to Asian on line casino markets like Macau but PwC Korea companion Glenn Burm instructed GGRAsia that neither junkets nor Korean on line casino operators “have the volume to accommodate the costs” affiliated with bringing in overseas VIP gamblers.

Far more to the stage, Burm reported junkets have failed to achieve a foothold in Korea due to the fact the casinos “prefer to do direct promoting to VIPs.” This success in much less significant-rollers making the trek to Korea but people who do make a lot more profits for the on line casino due to the fact there’s no need to pay junket commissions

South Korea presently has 17 tiny casinos and a range of larger sized integrated resorts in improvement but Burm doesn’t believe the new venues will change the junket dynamic. Burm says initiatives like the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority’s joint undertaking are “more of the US model,” i.e. centered on mass current market gamblers, not VIPs.

In the meantime, Kangwon Land, the only Korean on line casino which is permitted to admit Koreans, earned a new feather in its cap by making the most up-to-date Forbes 2000 listing of the world’s biggest general public businesses, which is based on a composite rating from similarly-weighted actions of profits, profits, belongings and current market benefit.

Kangwon Land (pictured) rated #1,928 on Forbes’ listing with a current market cap of $7.8b as of Might 2016. The business carried out even better in terms of profitability (#1,422) and current market benefit (#1,365). Kangwon Land documented product sales of $1.44b and profits of $390.2m in 2015, even though Q1 2016’s revenue of $122m set the business on keep track of to beat very last year’s total.

There have been only seven on line casino businesses on the Forbes listing, led by Las Vegas Sands (#432), MGM Resorts (#989), Galaxy Enjoyment Team (#1,090), Caesars Enjoyment (#1,198), Genting (#1,246) and Wynn Resorts (#1,990).

Wynn’s annual profits of $four.1b is approximately three periods that of Kangwon Land’s but Wynn’s revenue of $173m was a lot less than 50 % of Kangwon Land’s. What’s more, Wynn has to contend in both equally Las Vegas and Macau even though Kangwon Land’s monopoly on nearby gamblers doesn’t expire right until 2025. Ah, certainty.

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