Korean online lottery launch
By Paul
South Korea is to launch a new online lottery on December 2. The official launch was held last Thursday by the Kookmin Bank and the new lottery oerator, KLS consortium. The launch has led to fears about compulsive gambling.

Officials from the consortium said that the new lottery business will help iron out the current lottery problems, including the costly distribution system.

The online lottery, or Lotto, will be offered by Kookmin Bank and seven government ministries with proceeds from the business will finance the ministries.

Lotto differs from the lottery tickets currently available to Koreans, since buyers are able to select their own 'lucky' numbers instead of buying a pre-stamped ticket.

They can choose six numbers from one to 45 on slips after paying for a ticket.

The accumulated jackpot is limited to five weeks.

Given the online lottery business has as much as a 60% share in the global lottery market, existing minor lotteries look set to fade away.

'Though a number of governmental agencies are operating lottery businesses, enough to be called a 'lottery republic' at present, those lotteries will disappear three through six months after the release of Lotto. Even the housing lottery is likely to pass away,' Kookmin Bank President Kim Jong-tae said.

At present, a total of 23 lotteries are offered by 11 government agencies locally apart from some 10 Internet lotteries.

A backlash against the new gambling business is likely from several tens of thousands of off-line lottery sellers nationwide. Lotto will be available at some 5,000 Kookmin Bank branches and convenient stores excluding the existing minor sellers at subways and bus stops.

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