Posted: Nov 24, 2021, 10:45 a.m.
Last update on: November 24, 2021, 12:20 p.m.
An illegal website linked to the Philippines and targeting South Korean gamers has been dismantled by authorities. The sports betting business would have used a hotel-casino as a base of operations, according to the Yonhap News Agency.
Some 130 people have been arrested in South Korea in connection with an alleged criminal ring linked to the site.
However, only nine people were arrested, including one person who allegedly led the operations.
The website is now dismantled, however, before the shutdown, the operation had grown quite large, according to Yonhap News Agency. The outfit has reportedly taken more than $ 1.09 billion in bets over the past two and a half years.
Business in the making
The investigation was overseen by the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency through its International Crime Investigation Unit. The investigation began in September 2019 after police learned of suspicious activity.
Two years later, the police intervened to stop the operations. Police discovered a series of activities that included streaming sports matches live from a location in the Philippines. This was linked to a sports betting portal run by an unnamed website, with the illegal bookmaker operating since at least July 2018, if not earlier.
The investigation ultimately linked 150 people. The twenty people who have not been taken into custody are now wanted suspects who have “red notices” marked with their identification. A Red Notice is sent to all law enforcement agencies around the world, informing them that the individual is wanted for questioning or apprehension.
When the bust was made, police reportedly confiscated approximately $ 673,200 (KRW 800 million), which had been received as part of the criminal enterprise. The funds were sent using cryptocurrency.
Illegal gambling in South Korea
This latest collapse of an illegal gambling operation in South Korea follows a string of recent failures.
In September, Hong Kong police arrested more than 800 suspects linked to EURO 2020 betting over the summer. Among those arrested was the alleged hub of a sports betting union controlled by the triad.
In June, law enforcement arrested 17 people after raids on two illegal sports betting sites in Busan, South Korea’s second most popular city. This resulted in the seizure of approximately $ 1.7 million in cash, three apartments and two houses.
Legal gambling in South Korea
South Korea has two official and legal sports betting, Sports Toto and Sports Proto. They are not as sturdy as what punters can find with some of the alternatives online, and they are both vetted by the South Korean National Lottery.
Sports Toto is a pari-mutuel platform, which means that bets are grouped together and then split evenly among the winners.
Sports Proto is closer to the standard sports betting website that every bettor around the world would expect to find. Fixed odds are used and bettors accept the odds displayed at the time they place a bet. There are, however, some limitations to this platform. First, only basketball and baseball are found. Second, the payouts are generally lower than those offered by sites that compete in open markets.
Online betting through offshore sites has become very popular due to their limitations.