Gambling Operations Win as Crisis Bites

      December 09, 2008 09:44

      The Korea Racing Authority predicts that this year's horse racing revenues will grow by 13 percent to W7.4 trillion from last year as people dream of the jackpot in difficult economic times. An official at Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries explained that the increase is part of a balloon effect where people flock to horse racing due to a crackdown on illegal gambling parlors.

      Casino Kangwon Land is also seeing a boom. Revenues until September this year rose by 9.6 percent from last year, and the trend did not stop with the financial crisis in October. "VIP revenues decreased slightly but an increasing number of people gamble standing up because there are not enough seats," a spokesman for the casino said. He said revenue growth will "easily" reach 10 percent by the end of year. Lotto sales are up since November.

      Some W44 billion worth of tickets are selling nationwide, a 7 percent jump from the same period of last year. Sportstoto's revenues from its foreign sports lottery sales have increased a whopping 48 percent from last year.

      Kwak Keum-joo, a psychologist at Seoul National University says get-rich-quick fever is often the result in times of economic depression.

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