Operators of Cyber Gambling Apprehended
By Kang Shin-who
Seven officials at the Korean unit of Mansion.com, an international online casino, were apprehended for operating an illegal gambling Web site for Koreans, police said Tuesday.
Mansion.com is the kit sponsor of Tottenham Hotspur, an English professional football club in the Premier League.
It is the first time that an international online game company was legally implicated for opening Korean operations to handle marketing, exchanges of cyber money and other works for online gambling. So far, Koreans have gained access to gambling sites whose servers are based in foreign countries.
The Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency said that more than 2,700 have gambled on the site, with the total cash taken in by the site estimated at about 30 billion won.
Of them, police are investigating some 70 who have deposit more than 50 million won ($33,000) each at the site. Mansion.com established a unit Mansion88 in Singapore, and the Singaporean unit oversaw the Korean operations.
They established a Korean operation after singing a contract to lease 13 gambling sites from the international online casino. About 2,700 signed up as members. Police said the operators have reaped 4 billion won in illegal gains. The largest amount of money deposited by a member for gambling stood at 500 million won.
They established workplaces in southern Seoul to provide cyber money to gamblers and sent solicitation messages to potential members since December 2007.
Police said they used cell phones and bank accounts under borrowed names.
Based in the United Kingdom, Mansion has a wide range of investments, ranging from online casinos and the sponsorship of international sports teams. Police will also trace the flow of the illegal gains. Unregistered online gambling sites are illegal in Korea.