Authorities Bust Illegal Gambling Ring Targeting South Koreans

Authorities have busted an illegal site that was targeting gamblers in South Korea and had ties with the Philippines. As the Yonhap News Agency reports, the website’s base of operations was a hotel-casino. As a result of the criminal ring, around 130 people in South Korea were taken into custody.

Website Dismantled, Nine Arrested

Even though 130 people were taken into custody, authorities ended up arresting the alleged head of operations, as well as eight other individuals. The illegal website is now shut down, but as the Yonhap News Agency reports, its operations grew quite a lot before being dismantled.

In the past two and a half years, the operator has accepted around $1.09 billion in wagers. The Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency oversaw the whole investigation via its international crime investigation unit. After being tipped off about suspicious activity, the unit launched its investigation in September 2019.

After collecting enough evidence, police acted to shut down the illegal operations and as the investigation uncovered, there was a lot of illegal sports wagering connected to live game broadcasting that was run via an unnamed website. As data indicated, the illegal online bookmaker was operating from as early as July 2018, maybe even earlier.

Ultimately, a total of 150 people were linked to the investigation. 20 are now wanted suspects with “red notices” on their identification. The red notice is transferred to law enforcement around the globe and notifies law enforcement that the specific individual is wanted for apprehension or questioning.

More Than Half a Million Dollars Confiscated

Police reportedly confiscated approximately $673,200 (KRW800 million) with the shutdown. The money was transferred in cryptocurrencies and received through the criminal enterprise.

South Korea has had a streak of busting illegal gambling operations recently. Back in September, police detained upwards of 800 suspects tied to illegal wagers in the summer connected to EURO 2020. A kingpin of a sports wagering syndicate that was triad-controlled was among the arrested.

In June 2020, law enforcement raided two illegal sportsbooks in the second most popular city in South Korea – Busan. The raid resulted in 17 people being arrested and approximately $1.7 million in property (two houses and three apartments) and cash seized.

Sports Toto and Sports Proto are currently the only two legal sportsbooks in the country. Since they are controlled by the national lottery of South Korea, they aren’t as diverse as online alternatives. Sports Toto’s bets are pooled and the winners split them equally, meaning that this is a pari-mutuel platform.

That is why this platform is similar to sports betting websites. Even though fixed odds are used, which are accepted by bettors when they place a bet, Sports Toto has certain limitations. For starters, there are just two featured sports to bet on – baseball and basketball. Furthermore, payouts at Sports Toto are usually lower than on sites that compete in an open market. These limitations are the reason why placing online wagers via offshore sportsbooks has become popular.

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