Saturday March 23,2013 : KOREAN COMEDIAN AN ONLINE HIGHROLLER
45-year-old celebrity gambled away almost $900,000 on internet sports bets, say prosecutors
South Korean prosecutors issued court summons on one of the country's top celebrities and comedians Wednesday, citing Kim Yong-man (45) for gambling at illegal sports Internet betting sites for years.
The publication Korea Joongang Daily reports that prosecutors will allege that he gambled around a billion won ($895,000) starting 2008.
Kim has apparently entered a guilty plea, admitting that he had difficulty quitting the pastime. His manager has also been summoned on similar allegations.
Prosecutors said Kim and his manager Yang have spent tens of millions of won every month betting on game score results of professional football matches in international leagues, including the English Premier League, betting anywhere from hundreds of thousands of won to millions of won per game.
Their online gambling activities were discovered during a general investigation into online gambling by the enforcement authorities. Three sports betting operators are currently the subject of investigations, a spokesman confirmed.
Prosecution officials estimate that about 11 trillion won of illegal bets are made by South Korean punters at about 1,000 Internet betting sites annually.
“We can’t accurately assess the scale of illegal private betting as most betting Web sites often change their IP addresses and servers and newly appear every day,” a spokesman for the prosecution said.
According to the Korean Institute of Criminology, the total stake of illegal sports betting is six times larger than the total stake of Sports Toto at 1.9 trillion won, the only licensed betting service in Korea, which allows people to make bets on the outcome of a sporting event.
The prosecution has had a dampening effect on Kim's career; he says he will quit MBC’s “Section TV Entertainment News,” where he was an emcee for 12 years, as well as four other TV programs, including KBS’ health variety program “Vitamin” and JTBC’s “Doctor’s Game.”