Is North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un using illegal online gambling operations to fund his government to the tune of $1 billion (USD) annually? That’s the allegation being made by researchers at the Korean National Police University.

The researchers presented their findings at a recent conference in South Korea where they detailed Kim Jong-un’s plan for turning online gambling into badly needed foreign currency. The plan, as reported on by, revolves around a number of separate online gambling sites scattered across China and Southeast Asia.

But the intricacies of house edge aren’t the only thing Kim Jong-un is exploiting through his network of gambling sites. South Korean security experts also maintain that the North Koreans are stealing millions of dollars by hacking the personal accounts of players who are unfortunate enough to be gambling with them.

Other experts maintain that North Korea is also using its online gambling operations to spy on its South Korean neighbors. They also believe that North Korea is generating income by selling its malware products to South Korean organized crime syndicates.

The work of maintaining this gambling and hacking network is done by an army of North Korean hackers who work under the command of the North Korean military.  It’s believed that North Korea may have as many as 6,800 hackers under its command.

Though this story sounds like it’s ripped out of the pages of a cheap spy novel, it’s not really all that far-fetched.

The North Korean economy is suffering mightily from the impact of years of international sanctions and has almost no legitimate means of generating foreign currency. Illicit gambling and other criminal activities allow the North Koreans to both generate intelligence on their enemies, while bringing in desperately needed hard cash.


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