Daegu Casino in South Korea Bilked Foreign Players for $3.5M, Say Prosecutors
South Korean prosecutors have indicted 12 people suspected of defrauding foreign patrons during crooked games at Golden Crown’s Daegu Casino. The casino is based at the Hotel Inter-Burgo in the city of Daegu in the southeast of the country. It is owned by South Korea’s Golden Crown Co. Ltd. Among the accused are the casino’s executives, managers, and dealers.
The Daegu District Prosecutor’s Office alleges the casino bilked two high-rolling Chinese baccarat players out of $4.5 billion won (US$3.5 million) in September 2017 by using stacked decks and a card-manipulation technique known as “bottom dealing.”
This is where a crooked dealer pulls a card from the bottom of the deck while using sleight of hand to make it appear the card was dealt from the top, as normal.
The team used the same technique to cheat a Japanese visitor out of 54 million won (US$42,000) in July 2017, according to prosecutors.
The 12, who have not been named by South Korean media, have been charged variously with casino cheating, malfeasance, and misappropriation.
Additionally, two Golden Crown executives are accused of borrowing more than US$7 million from a Hong Kong-based financial services provider, and then lending around US$5 million of it to a fellow executive without security.
Another executive allegedly misappropriated around US$730,000 of company money for his own personal use.
The Daegu Casino has history with the District Prosecutor’s Office. It was previously accused of stealing around US$2 million from three baccarat players between May 2012 and April 2014 using card manipulation.
It was also fined US$8,000 for allowing South Korean nationals to gamble on the premises from September 2011 to March 2012. Casinos in South Korea are strictly foreigner-only, with one exception: the state-owned Kangwon Land, around 80 miles from the capital, Seoul.
Because of this policy, casinos come under the remit of the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism, which is expected to take a dim view of activities that might damage tourism in South Korea.
According to the country’s AP News, Golden Crown is likely to face severe sanctions, including the possible loss of its gaming license.
There have been calls for the establishment of an independent gambling regulator in South Korea to increase oversight over licensees.
“Fraudulent gambling is tarnishing the international image of all casinos in Korea,” one anonymous industry official told South Korea’s BreakNews in May, when reports of the Daegu Casino investigation emerged. “We need the strict will of relevant organizations. A casino supervisory body should be established as a matter of urgency.”