The authorities tasked with overseeing the operations of local casinos have been lax in their oversight for the past three years, a lawmaker said Wednesday. Rep. Kim Su-min of the minor opposition Bareunmirae Part accused the culture ministry of being excessively lenient to illegal activities taking place at them as it did not suspend any of their business licenses.
|Collusion between employees and patrons have occurred at local casinos. / gettyimagesbank|
At Seven Luck Casino in COEX Mall, operated by Grand Korea Leisure (GKL), an affiliate of the Korea Tourism Organization, an employee embezzled 475 million won ($395,000) by "misappropriating" chips in collusion with a customer, and tampering with electronic gaming machines, over 469 times in six months from February 2016
In addition, a Korean national was admitted to the foreigner-only casino 15 times in the same year, while an employee working at Seven Luck Casino in Busan was also caught colluding with a customer and pocketing 45 million won.
However, the ministry only imposed "corrective orders" ― the lowest disciplinary action ― on the two casinos.
At Paradise Casino Walkerhill in Seoul, a worker colluded with a customer to misappropriate over 80 million won. It also illegally admitted a Korean national to gamble there on 1,000 occasions, and another one on 20 occasions. It also only received corrective orders in 2017 and 2018.
Rep. Kim said the ministry's leniency may have to do with casino revenue, some of which is used for the ministry's budget.
"While 2.2 million people are struggling with gambling addiction in Korea, the ministry has failed to come up with strict regulations against casinos but only slapped them on the wrist," Kim said, urging the National Assembly to revise the relevant law to impose mandatory tougher punishments.