As another Korean jockey has his license revoked for allegedly passing on inside information, professional video game players are now under suspicion of being involved with illegal gambling rings.
The Korea Racing Authority (KRA) recently announced that jockey Lee Jung Sun has been suspended pending police investigation into supposed “inside information” being passed to illegal betting syndicates.
Lee’s suspension follows that issued to jockey Park Soo Hong last year, while Seoul jockey Lee Jung Seob (“L Mo”) is currently under investigation as was a Busan jockey last year.
The information, such that it is, is allegedly passed to organizations who operate in the illegal betting market – not the maximum $100 stakes with the KRA – and it is in these markets where the latest Korean gambling scandal seems to have taken place.
This time it is in the almost uniquely Korean world of professional video gaming. In Korea, video games – or to be be more precise “Massively Multi-Player Online Role Playing Games” are big business. A quick scan of Gyongmaman’s cable tv shows three stations currently showing videogames – of these Starcraft is traditionally the most popular. Now, according to what has been described as “a series of track-backs and hat-tips” several of the top professionally Starcraft players have been involved in a n illegal betting scam.
The story goes that the players either threw games or provided “replay files” to the betting syndicates. The “scandal” reportedly involves most of the great and good of professional gaming including Ma Jae Yoon, the renowned “sAviOr“. See GamePron or Kotaku for more information.
This news comes in the same week that the Korean government is set to crack down on online games in general which, apparently are keeping the youth of Korea up at night. The government wants to prevent youngsters from playing after a certain time and is prepared to legislate to enforce it.
It’s well known that the majority of gambling in Korea is done illegally with a blind and impotent eye turned by the authorities. Meanwhile it is the easy target of legal betting on racing that attracts the vast majority of government attention. It would be no surprise therefore if, after a “scandal” in the video game world, it was innocent gamers who were to be punished.