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South Korea clamps down on “pseudo casinos”

The move aims to regulate so-called “hold’em pubs”.

South Korea.- The government of South Korea has announced new guidelines to regulate establishments known as “hold’em pubs”. The guidelines were developed by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the National Police Agency, and the National Gambling Control Commission following an amendment to the Tourism Promotion Act.

Under South Korean law, gambling for locals is prohibited except for limited authorised facilities, including one casino (Kangwon Land in Gangwon Province) and small bets for fun. However, so-called pseudo-casinos have hosted gambling by using a loophole.

Article 26 of the revised act states that any business offering casino-like services that result in financial gain for some participants and financial loss to others will be considered illegal even if the operator does not profit. This includes offering points that can be used as credit by customers.

The article mentions specific types of games: slot machines and various table games such as roulette, blackjack, dice or craps, poker, baccarat, bingo, and mahjong. Violators could face imprisonment for up to seven years or fines up to KRW70m (US$51,000).

See also: South Korea: 2,925 arrested over alleged illegal online gambling operations