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No. of teenage gambling addiction patients surges over 5-year period: lawmaker

All News 10:00 October 03, 2020

SEOUL, Oct. 3 (Yonhap) -- The number of South Korean teens suffering from gambling addiction exploded at an alarming rate over five years from 2015, according to an opposition lawmaker Saturday.

According to data from the state-run Korea Center on Gambling Problems, which was released by Rep. Bae June-young of the main opposition People Power Party, the number of teenagers who received treatment at the center for gambling addiction has increased nearly fourteenfold from 71 in 2015 to 981 in 2019.

The number of reported national teenage gambling addiction cases increased to 240 in 2016, 345 in 2017 and 714 in 2018 and was 549 as of August this year.

By region, Gyeonggi Province had the most patients as of last year, with 143, followed by Seoul, Daejeon and Gwangju with 109, 104 and 101, respectively.

The majority of teenage patients, or 60.4 percent, received treatment for sports gambling, followed by 34.6 percent for "mini game" gambling last year. Online gambling accounted for 98.5 percent of reported teenage cases.

Bae called for the government to come up with measures to tackle the problem, pointing out that the Ministry of Education has no designated department or allocated budget on the matter.

"The education ministry should be in charge of managing the problems of student gambling but is neglecting them," the lawmaker said. "This is very problematic."

An illustration highlighting gambling addiction among some South Korean teenagers (Yonhap)

nyway@yna.co.kr
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