February 15, 2024 2 min read


North Korea Allegedly Develops and Sells Illegal Gambling Websites

The illegal gambling websites were allegedly rented by South Korean online criminal organization that paid rent to a North Korean IT company

Similar to China, gambling is prohibited in North Korea. However, the totalitarian dictatorship country focusing on the Kim family currently has two casinos. Visitors of North Korea can gamble at the country’s two foreigner-only casinos, the Pyongyang Casino in the Yanggakdo International Hotel in Pyongyang and the Imperial Hotel & Casino in Rason. This practice reminds of China’s Special Administrative Region, Macau, where gambling is also permitted.

Now new data from South Korea’s National Intelligence Service (NIS), claims that an online criminal organization in South Korea benefitted from gambling websites developed by North Korea. The NIS claims that Gyeongheung, an IT organization related to the North Korea Workers Party’s infamous Office 39, an organization that raises funds for the country’s leaders through illegal and legal activities, was hired by a South Korean criminal organization.

Gyeongheung is believed to be based in Dandong, a coastal prefecture-level city in the southeastern Liaoning province in China. The location is strategic as it allows North Korean workers to work for the clothing sector in China, effectively avoiding sanctions imposed by the UN that prohibit such employment.

Websites Generate Billions in Proceeds, Steal Personal Data

The NIS anticipates that the illegal gambling websites have generated billions of dollars in profits, while at the same time, stealing the personal information of South Korean citizens. According to local media reports, the South Korean criminal organization paid $5,000 per website, per month to the North Korean IT company. Another $3,000 was payable per month, per website, for the required technical support for the operation of the gambling outlets.

Based upon initial estimates, the North Korean IT company developed thousands of such illegal online gambling websites. Once they were rented to the South Korean cyber-crime ring, the illegal gambling websites started to generate proceeds.

But it’s not only illegal gambling proceeds. The websites reportedly contained malware through an auto-play feature which helped steal personal information of online gamblers. An estimated 1,100 pieces of personal information belonging to South Korean citizens were stolen through this method. Consequently, the criminal organization allegedly tried to sell this information.

Elsewhere in South Korea, the Inspire Casino at Mohegan Inspire Entertainment Resort in Incheon, opened its doors to visitors earlier this month. The announcement comes after in November, the casino resort soft-opened by welcoming its first hotel guests. Besides its hotel amenities, the Mohegan Inspire Entertainment Resort also opened its Inspire Arena, promising exceptional entertainment experiences.


Jerome is a welcome new addition to the Gambling News team, bringing years of journalistic experience within the iGaming sector. His interest in the industry begun after he graduated from college where he played in regular local poker tournaments which eventually lead to exposure towards the growing popularity of online poker and casino rooms. Jerome now puts all the knowledge he's accrued to fuel his passion for journalism, providing our team with the latest scoops online.

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