Gambling nets Seoul $54.5b over 15 years

The South Korean government has earned 62.5 trillion won (US$54.56 billion) from the gambling industry over the past 15 years, about half of it through taxes, the Yonhap news agency reported.

The Korea Taxpayers Association analyzed records from the National Gambling Control Commission and found that the government collected approximately 31.55 trillion won in taxes and made 30.95 trillion won in profit in the 2000-2015 period, it said.

Horseracing brought in the biggest portion, 37.5 percent, followed by the lottery (25.4 percent) and casinos (12.3 percent), the data indicated.

The government directly manages casinos, horseracing, track cycling, boat racing, the lottery, sports betting and bull fighting. Multiple taxes, including leisure, regional education and agricultural tariffs, are levied on all of the games, except for the lottery and sports betting, whose proceeds are deposited into related funds.

Locals are only permitted to gamble in one of South Korea’s casinos, Kangwon Land. The others are restricted to foreign visitors and have faced a difficult time, with tourism revenue plunging in 2015 due to an outbreak of Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome. Efforts to crackdown on marketing in Mainland China have also harmed customer acquisition.

The country’s first real IR is scheduled to open later this month in a zone near the Incheon international airport. The property is a joint venture between Paradise Co. and Japan’s Sega Sammy.