When it became clear that many South Koreans have been participating in online gambling activities, the Korea Centers for Disease Control (KCDC) took action. In 2016, the Center conducted a first of its kind nationwide survey pertaining to gambling. The purpose of which was to find out if the country is at risk of facing problems linked to severe gambling addiction. However, the gambling questionnaires were only part of the regional health surveys conducted by the KCDC.
Kim Se-jin, Head of the KCDC subgroup Korean Center for Gambling Problems (KCGP) in Daejeon remarked that they still have to implement education about gambling addiction before getting into the matter of launching antii-gambling campaign to treat the gambling addiction. The statement implied that at the time the first gambling survey was launched by the KCDC, the agency was still examining the different aspects of gambling in the country, and of how gambling negatively affects the lives of Korea’s general public.
As the first survey took place in 2017, the results of the second survey that was supposed to have been released in 2020, apparently did not materialize. Now here’s the thing, the peculiar nature of the COVID-19 pandemic that transpired in 2020 made online gambling in South Korea prevalent. The urge to gamble became more pronounced but not necessarily out of addiction. Many took to gambling in online casinos as a harmless yet at the same time, lucrative form of entertainment.
What the KCGP found as alarming, which seemed similar to gambling addiction was in the stock trading activities. There was a 16% increase in the number of day stock traders who sought help in getting out of their addiction to trading-related activities.
Unlike licensed online casinos and sports betting sites, online stock trading platforms are not regulated and therefore have fewer mechanisms that serve as deterrents against addictive behaviour.
South Koreans Generally Disapprove of Gambling
Generally, South Korean citizens view gambling as a harmful recreation; giving the government a reason to limit the gambling options available to local gamblers. Betting on outcomes of cycling, boat and horse racing competitions are the only sporting events considered as legal betting markets.
Staking money on lottery draws is also legal. In both cases, wagers must be placed in government operated toto betting sites since they are the only licensed gambling operators in the country. Casino gambling is allowed but only in Kangwon Land Casino while only those who meet certain financial conditions are eligible to enter the casino gaming area.
Awareness is a Key to Safe Online Gambling Activities
A lot has changed since SoKor’s gambling policies were established. Changes that have transpired are mostly in line with advancements in telecommunications technology, While there are no national policies supporting or banning online gambling, it’s generally considered illegal to gamble online. The main concern is that gambling addiction could adversely affect the nation’s economy.
Yet in this day and age, local gamblers are provided with information on how to distinguish a 안전놀이터 or anjeonnol-iteo (Safe Playground) from those that unfairly eat away winnings after enticing players with bonsu money and rewards. In having awareness about these sites, online gamblers in South Korea prefer to play in online casinos that operate under the supervision of international gaming regulators. Mainly because there are safety nets in place that proactively prevent players from falling into addiction.