Tuesday February 19,2013 : KOREAN ONLINE GAMBLING WEBBIE GIVEN LIGHT SENTENCE
Seoul court judge opines that South Korea has double standards when it comes to gambling
A South Korean webmaster charged with running an illegal sports betting site escaped with a relatively light punishment this week when the presiding judge in a Seoul court expressed a personal opinion that the nation has a double standard when it comes to gambling.
According to the publication Korea Joongang Daily, the judge questioned the fairness of the government "increasing public interest in gambling" whilst imposing a heavy penalty on one man.
Judge Lee Hyung-joo of the Seoul Central District Court recently sentenced a 34-year-old un-named man to an 18-month suspended jail term with three years’ of probation, a 790 million won ($732,000) fine and 400 hours of community service for running an illegal sports betting site.
The accused deployed servers in China from August 2009 to July 2011, earning 3 billion won. His 33-year-old accomplice, who was also involved in the country’s professional football league’s match-fixing case, was sentenced to three and a half years in prison in his first trial in June of last year by the Jeju District Court.
“It isn’t right for the government to increase public interest in gambling by establishing many [land] casinos and producing many types of lottery tickets and then give a heavy penalty to an individual who had operated a much smaller system,” Judge Lee said in his ruling.
“I judged that it is too much to give a jail sentence to the suspect because his earnings from the Web site will be seized by the court. I think community service could give him a chance to be rehabilitated into a valuable member of our society.”
Korea Joongang Daily quotes a South Korean gambling industry source, who claimed that the total revenue of the nation's land gambling industry was 6.27 trillion won in 2000, but increased threefold in 11 years, amounting to 18.3 trillion won in 2011.
“The government is the one that is most aggressively expanding gambling in the country,” Judge Lee said. “It is unfair to punish those individuals who are doing the same thing.”