Regulated gambling is a big business is a massive business in South Korea and the government is benefiting from it to the tune of $3,6 billion a year. That’s the gist of an analysis of National Gambling Control Commission records by the Korean Taxpayers Association.
The numbers paint a picture of a robust industry that’s generating plenty of cash and could be ripe for the addition of regulated online gambling.
According to the report’s top line number, the Korean gambling industry has added slight over $54 billion to government coffers over the past 15 years. ($62.5 trillion KRW). The verticals that generated the bulk of that revenue aren’t likely the market segments most foreigners might think – and it’s growing rapidly.
Tax revenues from regulated South Korean gambling have more than doubled over the course of the 15-year period studied for the report.
South Korea’s biggest gambling tax revenue generator, according to the report, is horse racing. The ponies raised a whopping 37.5 percent of all gambling taxes collected by the South Korean government.
Pulling up behind horse racing, in terms of revenue generation, are lottery operations. As is the case in many other Asian countries, lotteries are a huge business in South Korea and account for 25.4 percent of the total take.
Pulling up in third place are standard, land-based casinos. This small, but growing, segment of the South Korean gambling sector accounted for just 12.5 percent of government revenue from gambling. The anemic numbers coming out of the land-based side of the business are likely due to the fact that Korean citizens are not allowed to gamble in the country’s legal casinos.
As of this writing, there is little in the way of a movement to legalize online gambling in South Korea.