Card Use Banned in Overseas Casinos - Saturday 12th of March 2005

Koreans will be prohibited from using credit cards in overseas casinos from next week, the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) said. ``We will not tolerate any credit card use for gambling abroad. As gambling is unlawful in Korea, we are going to apply that same no-tolerance policy overseas,??? Park Chang-sup, FSS director of the loan business supervision office. Settling debts incurred from cyber-gambling with credit cards will also be banned, it said. The move by the FSS comes as an increasing number of Koreans are using credit cards gambling at casinos in Asian countries such as the Philippines. The measure is geared to stem the sharp rise in overseas gambling and curb capital from moving out of the country. The total amount of money spent on gambling decreased to 7.1 billion won, or $7.1 million, last year from 8.64 billion won the previous year. But the amount could rise in the future. ``Credit card companies have no reason to refuse gambling transactions and some have no restrictions on credit card use,??? Park said. People cannot use their credit cards at Kangwon Land, the only casino opened to Koreans. The FSS will require credit card issuers to prevent their clients from using credit cards for gambling. It has sent written orders to all credit card companies to follow its obligatory directions beginning Monday. Credit card issuers such as Shinhan Card, Lotte Card and KEB Card have welcomed credit card use in overseas gambling houses. But Kookmin Card, BC Card and LG Card permit only limited use, ranging from $300 to $1,000 depending on their customers??? credit ratings. ``Shinhan Card posted 580 million won in overseas credit card use for gambling last year. It is a small amount compared to our total earnings, but we???re do not like losing a source of income,??? Shinhan Card general manager Lee Chun-kuk said. Moon Seung-chul, manager of Kookmin Card, said, ``the income from this credit card use is tiny but it???s still a loss in terms of earnings. But we will of course follow the directions of the FSS for the public good.??? ``But the problem likely persist,?????? Park said. ``We cannot detect every credit card transaction in every foreign gambling house. For example, some Koreans traveling overseas can purchase goods on a card and then refund the purchase to use the cash for gambling.???

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