April 25, 2024 3 min read


Hundreds of Korean Teenagers Caught in Underage Gambling Ring

This revelation coincides with rising concern among Koreans regarding the increasing number of youth suffering from gambling addiction

The South Korean National Police Agency revealed a startling statistic on Thursday, indicating that teenagers comprised one-third of the 2,925 online gambler suspects apprehended in a recent crackdown on an illicit gambling ring. The agency’s National Office of Investigation spearheaded a focused operation targeting adolescent involvement in online gambling from 25 September last year to 31 March.

Children as Young as Ten Placed Wagers

Among the apprehended individuals, 75 adults were formally arrested and detained for reaping profits of 61.9 billion won ($45 million). Shockingly, 1,035 of those caught were teenagers who used the organization’s services, implicating a significant underage presence in the illicit gambling activities. While iGaming is illegal in the country, young players often find ways to circumvent restrictions.

The data underscores a troubling trend, with twelve teenagers discovered to be operating online gambling sites, six involved in advertising such platforms, and five supplying items under false identities. Law enforcement efforts resulted in 566 teenagers getting referred to specialized consultation institutions under the supervision of their guardians, hopefully curbing any addiction problems.

Breaking down the demographics, high school students constituted the largest group with 798 individuals, followed by middle school students with 228, and university students with seven. Alarmingly, the crackdown even caught several elementary school students, including a 9-year-old who bet 10,000 won ($7.25). The investigation revealed that peer influence played a significant role, with most students encountering online gambling through friends.

Authorities Will Mobilize to Combat This Issue

Police emphasized the sophistication of recent adolescent-targeted online gambling schemes, which have become increasingly gamified and challenging to detect. In one instance, the Daejeon Metropolitan Police Agency dismantled a network of online gambling site operators, uncovering the involvement of 33 teenagers in their illicit activities. Text messages were usually the primary tool for luring minors into gambling activities.

Woo Jong-soo, chief of the National Office of Investigation, emphasized the gravity of youth gambling, pledging strict enforcement of laws against high-stakes and habitual gamblers. He called upon households, schools, internet businesses, and local communities to heighten vigilance and address the issue collectively. Unfortunately, similar cases are frighteningly common and challenging to detect, with illegal operators making millions in profits.

Considering the seriousness of youth gambling, we will strictly enforce the law against high-stakes and habitual gamblers and focus on rehabilitation, education, and promotion at the governmental level.

Woo Jong-soo, chief of the National Office of Investigation

In response to the alarming surge in teenage online gambling, the National Office of Investigation announced plans for a six-month crackdown starting in May. Additionally, authorities will undertake extra efforts to eliminate illegal online content and reinforce education to prevent gambling-related crimes among students. However, a long-term solution may necessitate extraordinary measures.

Deyan is an experienced writer, analyst, and seeker of forbidden lore. He has approximate knowledge about many things, which he is always willing to apply when researching and preparing his articles. With a degree in Copy-editing and Proofreading, Deyan is able to ensure that his work writing for GamblingNews is always up to scratch.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *