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Role of Technology in Sustainable Gambling: Policy Effects of Electronic Card System and Limit Setting

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With the rapid expansion of the gambling industry in Asian markets over the past decade, South Korea has implemented policies seeking to expand entertainment gambling while simultaneously seeking to reduce possible harms from problem gambling. In 2016, the mandatory electronic players’ card (EPC) system was adopted into specific Korean horse and cycling venues to discourage problem gambling behaviors since it prohibits large bets, while permitting other venues to autonomously operate EPC systems. This study compares preliminary data from mandatory versus autonomous venues to explore how EPC systems impact gambling behaviors, revenues, and policies. Overall, electronic cards were more widely adopted in mandatory venues for horse betting and in autonomous venues for cycling betting. Analyses indicate that larger bets were placed at both horse- and cycle-betting venues with autonomous card registration versus mandatory venues. While the EPC system mitigated problem gambling behaviors in horse betting, this impact was not observed for cycle betting. Such differences indicate that users across different types of sport betting exhibit somewhat distinct characteristics and behaviors in using electronic cards, which could shed light on the sustainable gambling strategy of adopting technology-driven EPC systems in sport betting not only in South Korea but also elsewhere around the world.
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Research Article
Role of Technology in Sustainable Gambling: Policy Effects of
Electronic Card System and Limit Setting
Junhwi Park ,
1
SeongRak Choi,
2
Dohyeong Kim ,
3
Denise Boots ,
3
and Chang Kil Lee
4
1
Crime Prevention and Treatment Research Division, Korean Institute of Criminology and Justice, Seoul 6764, Republic of Korea
2
Department of Business Management, Dongyang Mirae University, Seoul 8221, Republic of Korea
3
School of Economic, Policy and Policy Sciences, University of Texas at Dallas, Richardson,
TX 75080, USA
4
Department of Urban Policy and Administration, Incheon National University, Incheon 220212, Republic of Korea
Correspondence should be addressed to Chang Kil Lee; leechangkil@yahoo.com
Received 21 June 2021; Revised 15 July 2021; Accepted 3 August 2021; Published 12 August 2021
Academic Editor: Ali Ahmadian
Copyright ©2021 Junhwi Park et al. is is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License,
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
With the rapid expansion of the gambling industry in Asian markets over the past decade, South Korea has implemented policies
seeking to expand entertainment gambling while simultaneously seeking to reduce possible harms from problem gambling. In 2016,
the mandatory electronic players’ card (EPC) system was adopted into specific Korean horse and cycling venues to discourage
problem gambling behaviors since it prohibits large bets, while permitting other venues to autonomously operate EPC systems. is
study compares preliminary data from mandatory versus autonomous venues to explore how EPC systems impact gambling
behaviors, revenues, and policies. Overall, electronic cards were more widely adopted in mandatory venues for horse betting and in
autonomous venues for cycling betting. Analyses indicate that larger bets were placed at both horse- and cycle-betting venues with
autonomous card registration versus mandatory venues. While the EPC system mitigated problem gambling behaviors in horse
betting, this impact was not observed for cycle betting. Such differences indicate that users across different types of sport betting
exhibit somewhat distinct characteristics and behaviors in using electronic cards, which could shed light on the sustainable gambling
strategy of adopting technology-driven EPC systems in sport betting not only in South Korea but also elsewhere around the world.
1. Introduction
ere has been a rapid expansion of the transnational casino
industry into Asian markets over the past decade [1]. Asia
has become the most dominant regional market shaping the
gambling industry, with a compounded expansion rate of
roughly 20 percent between 2011 and 2015 and a global
market share estimated at roughly 45% by 2015 [2, 3].
Forecasts regarding the Asian Pacific region continue to
point to growth and expansion in the region, with Macau,
Australia, and Singapore leading as the top three gambling
destinations, respectively [2]. An exception to the explosive
Asian growth model comes when looking at South Korea;
while an established gambling economy, competition from
Macau and Japan has been projected to negatively impact
gambling revenues in Korea, leaving this nation with flat or
slightly lower revenues when compared to other Asian
countries [2]. At the same time, the increasing middle class
of Mainland China and change in attitudes toward gambling
have resulted in competitive markets rising across Asia to
attract tax dollars and revenues, with Korea seeking to attract
its share of casino tourism revenues with the adoption of
more liberalized legalized gambling policies [4].
Toward this end, and in keeping with worldwide trends
expanding gaming in Asian markets, Korea has imple-
mented gradual regulations since the late 2000s by executing
a multistep plan by the Korean National Gambling Control
Commission (hereinafter the “NGCC”). ese initiatives,
collectively known as the National Master Plan, represent a
public policy response under a responsible gaming frame-
work which seeks to expand entertainment gambling while
simultaneously addressing possible harms to individuals,
Hindawi
Mathematical Problems in Engineering
Volume 2021, Article ID 1779535, 8 pages
https://doi.org/10.1155/2021/1779535
families, and communities that come from excessive and
irresponsible gambling [5]. At the same time, these policies
reflect the Korean government’s efforts to positively reshape
and shift attitudes toward legalized gambling from one
perceived as a “vice” to one that perpetuates the “enter-
tainment” and “fun” of recreational gambling [6]. is
dramatic shift in Korean government policies that seek to
reframe gambling as a procommunity and recreational ac-
tivity reflects the more proliberalization Reno Model em-
ulated by other countries such as Singapore, the United
States, Australia, and Macau [7, 8].
In 2010, the first stage of the National Master Plan
piloted electronic players’ card (EPC) systems which was
supposed to launch a small number of gambling venues
across horse, bicycle, and motorboat racing, casinos, and
sports betting sites (e.g., Sports Toto) [9]. Very few indi-
vidual gamblers actually opted into the card program, and
the NGCC reported serious inconveniences for those in-
dividuals who tried to use the system. In July of 2012, the
NGCC launched a second pilot program after considering
feedback from industry stakeholders and experts, with 10%
of all horse- and cycling-racing venues implementing one of
two options: (1) venues completely banning cash bets and (2)
venues allowing a certain amount of maximum bet. e
second National Master Plan began in 2014 with the goal of
increasing the ratio of electronic card users and bets made
from the cards.
e introduction of the EPC system in Korea was
proposed as a policy to address the social negative side effects
of the gambling industry [5]. In addition, it was argued that
adopting this system would enhance the integrity and
transparency of gambling activities as a form of recreation
and fun while helping to curb the potential for gambling
addictions to form or be furthered at these betting sites [10].
In theory, the introduction of electronic cards discourages
problem gambling behaviors because they prohibit an in-
dividual from betting over KRW 100,000 in a single game
(with an estimated conversion rate of roughly $1
USD 1100 KRW). If players are required to bet only by
using the electronic card, it is possible to cap a single bet at
an amount below KRW 100,000. is adoption of EPC
system fundamentally bars any single bet to exceed KRW
100,000 and, hence, it is deemed to improve the efficacy of
the regulation on betting amounts and, further, have the
benefit of reducing gambling addiction. However, in reality,
it is possible to exceed the maximum bet amount by using
the EPC for one maximum bet and then placing cash bets for
the same race at any venue that allows cash transactions. At
casinos, patrons similarly may place two or more bets si-
multaneously in machines or at tables at the KRW 100,000
maximum amount, thereby bypassing EPC restrictions.
However, significant controversies exist in the empirical
literature regarding the impact of the electronic card system
on gambling addiction effects and the negative effects de-
rived from the introduction of the electronic card system. If
electronic card system is implemented, the revenue would
greatly decline, which would harm the business foundation
of legal gaming industry and may lead to the decrease in tax
revenue [11]. Moreover, the adoption of EPC systems would
decrease the privacy of users and further encourage illegal
betting due to the maximum caps that players were limited
to [12], thereby increasing the side effects such as gambling
addiction [13]. Due to such opposing opinions, the NGCC
has been continuously delaying the full adoption of the
electronic card system in Korea. While relatively more
studies have been evaluated on the economic impacts of EPC
systems [14] or focused on other types of gambling in Korea,
such as casinos [15] and arcade games [16], it appears that
there is a lack of support in the literature for the aim of the
EPC systems to prevent gambling addiction or enhance
customer convenience versus if no EPC system was adopted,
for the case of betting on horse and cycle races.
In February of 2016, the Korean government adopted the
mandatory use of electronic card into select horse and cycle
venues. Hence, while some venues were required to use
electronic cards for horse-racing and cycling businesses,
others were provided with autonomy—rather than obliga-
tion—of choosing to adopt EPC systems. Introducing a
mandatory system in specific horsing and bicycling venues
while permitting other venues to autonomously operate
their businesses with an option of EPC systems in Korea
offers researchers an ideal opportunity to explore how EPC
systems impact gambling behavior, revenues, and respon-
sible gambling policies. With such selective adoption
practices, the Korean government created a natural exper-
iment whereby the policy effects of mandatory adoption of
electronic cards can be compared to venues granted the
autonomous adoption of electronic cards.
us, we aim to evaluate the impacts of the EPC system
adopted in specific Korean horse- and bicycling-racing
venues on gambling behavior, revenue, and responsible
gambling policies. We used the data collected in the project
conducted by the authors in 2016 [17] which examined the
policy effects of mandatory versus autonomous electronic
card systems by comparing measures across horse- and
bicycling-racing venues that were required to adopt elec-
tronic cards versus other horsing and bicycling venues where
adoption of electronic cards was not mandated. e fol-
lowing are the major contributions of this paper:
(i) is paper contributes to the gambling study lit-
erature by utilizing government data from the
National Gambling Control Commission (NGCC)
of Korea as it rolled out an EPC system as both
autonomous (voluntary registration) and manda-
tory (all players must use cards) across select legal
horse- and cycle-racing venues
(ii) It is the first study, to our knowledge, to offer an
exploratory analysis of empirical data on EPC
system from Korea, which highlights the role of
technology in sustainable gambling
(iii) It offers a valuable first look into the impact of this
launch of selective EPC systems whereby the policy
effects of mandatory adoption of electronic cards
can be compared to venues granted the autonomous
adoption of electronic cards
2Mathematical Problems in Engineering
e rest of the paper is organized as follows. Section 2
describes the data and methodology of the current study,
and Section 3 presents the results on the impact of man-
datory and voluntary adoption of EPC systems on gambling
outcomes in horse- and cycle-betting venues, respectively.
Section 4 discusses the implication of the findings and
Section 5 concludes the results of this study.
2. Materials and Methods
We aim to make a comparative evaluation on whether there
is any difference in gambling behavior and outcomes be-
tween mandatory and autonomous policies of operating
electronic card system in horse-racing and cycle-racing
businesses in South Korea. Mandatory-type venues require
the use of electronic cards only when betting at least KRW
50,000 (USD 45 based on a conversion rate of $1
USD 1110 KRW), while autonomous-type venues permit
bets to be placed in cash or through electronic cards in all
bet amount ranges. e key variables to be compared
between mandatory-type versus autonomous-type venues
include the following: (1) average purchase amount per
ticket issued, (2) average purchase amount per person, (3)
total number of tickets issued per person, and (4) the
proportion of tickets in each betting range among the total
number of tickets issued.
e data were collected from nine gambling venues (six
horse-racing and three cycle-racing) for 20 weeks between
February and June 2016. During this period, NGCC des-
ignated three horse-racing venues (Incheon, Jung-Gu;
Daegu; and Changwon) and one cycle-racing venue
(Gunpo) as mandatory and three horse-racing venues
(Incheon, Nam-Gu; Seoul; and Busan) and two cycle-racing
venues (Cheonan and Uijeongbu) as autonomous. All
venues were comparable in terms of total revenue, total
number of customers, and tickets issued. More details of the
data can be found in the final project report submitted to
National Gambling Control Commission by the authors
(2016).
3. Results
3.1. Horse Betting. Table 1 summarizes the results of the
comparison between mandatory-type venues and autono-
mous-type venues for horse-betting data in terms of the
proportion of cash versus electronic cards among the total
number of tickets issued and the total revenue, the average
purchase amount per ticket issued and per person, and the
proportion of each betting range among the total number of
tickets issued.
As shown in Table 1, for both mandatory and autono-
mous types, cash purchases contributed over 86% of the
tickets issued and revenue, but electronic card usage seemed
slightly more active in mandatory-type venues than in au-
tonomous-type venues (13.2% versus 10.6% for the number
of tickets and 11.3% versus 9.5% for total revenue), with
marginal significance (p<0.1). Average betting amount per
ticket and per person by cash was statistically significantly
higher in autonomous-type venues than in mandatory-type
venues (KRW 14,307 versus KRW 12,597 for per ticket
betting; KRW 546,038 versus KRW 479,493 for per person
betting), but average amount of betting per person by
electronic card was statistically indifferent between the
two types of venues. e gap in per ticket average betting
between cash and electronic card purchases was larger in
mandatory-type venues (KRW 1,731 for mandatory versus
KRW 1,172 for autonomous), while autonomous-type
venues had a larger gap in per person average betting
between cash and electronic card purchases (KRW
418,209 for mandatory versus KRW 489,150 for auton-
omous). In addition, there was no statistical difference in
the average number of tickets issued per person between
autonomous-type and mandatory-type venues, purchased
by either cash or electronic card. Interestingly, only less
than 2% of the tickets purchased via electronic cards were
priced over KRW 50,000 in mandatory-type venues even if
there was no betting limit, while almost 3% of the tickets
purchased using electronic cards were priced over KRW
50,000 in autonomous-type venues. Of course, cash bet-
ting over that amount, which was only allowed in au-
tonomous-type venues, took about 5% among all tickets
purchased by cash.
Overall, as for horse betting, it seems apparent that
electronic cards were relatively more used in mandatory-
type venues where users betted less not only by electronic
cards but also by cash. It is also found that high-price betting
over KRW 50,000 occurred more frequently in autonomous-
type tenders, particularly when purchased by cash. Despite
the fact that the average numbers of tickets issued for each
customer were similar in both mandatory-type venues and
autonomous-type venues, customers tended to spend more
in autonomous-type venues where cash betting was entirely
flexible.
3.2. Cycle Betting. Likewise, Table 2 summarizes the results
of the comparison between mandatory-type venues and
autonomous-type venues for cycle-betting data in terms of
the proportion of cash versus electronic cards among the
total number of tickets issued and the total revenue, the
average purchase amount per ticket issued and per person,
and the proportion of each betting range among the total
number of tickets issued.
Unlike the horse-betting case, for cycle betting, elec-
tronic card usage was significantly more active in autono-
mous-type venues than in mandatory-type venues (26.3%
versus 12.6% for the number of tickets and 12.1% versus
8.4% for total revenue; p<0.01), although cash purchases
were dominant as well (73–92%). Similar to the horse-
betting case, the average betting amount per ticket and per
person by cash was statistically significantly higher in au-
tonomous-type venues than in mandatory-type venues
(KRW 30,436 versus KRW 21,594 for per ticket betting;
KRW 372,065 versus KRW 278,532 for per person betting),
but the opposite was true for the average per ticket betting
amount by electronic card (KRW 13,653 for mandatory
versus KRW 11,675 for autonomous). us, the gap in per
ticket or per person average betting between cash and
Mathematical Problems in Engineering 3
electronic card purchases was much larger in autonomous-
type venues: KRW 18,761 (autonomous) versus KRW 7,941
(mandatory) for per ticket average betting and KRW 320,466
(autonomous) versus 253,044 (mandatory) for per person
average betting. e average number of tickets issued per
person was statistically different between autonomous-type
and mandatory-type venues for both cash and electronic
card purchases. Contrary to the horse-betting case, 4.28% of
the tickets purchased via electronic cards were priced over
KRW 50,000 in mandatory-type venues, while 2.67% of the
tickets purchased using electronic cards were priced over
KRW 50,000 in autonomous-type venues. Cash betting over
that amount, which was only allowed in autonomous-type
venues, took almost 20% among all tickets purchased by
cash, which is a lot larger compared to only 5% in the horse-
betting case.
e most noticeable difference for cycle betting in
comparison to horse betting is that EPCs were more fre-
quently used in autonomous-type venues, although high-
price betting over KRW 50,000 was still prevalent among
cash purchases. In addition, compared to autonomous-type
venues, a larger number of tickets were issued per person on
average when paid by cash, but fewer tickets were issued
among card purchases in mandatory-type venues. However,
it seems also true for cycle betting that customers tend to
spend more in autonomous-type venues, particularly by
cash, since no limit was placed on cash betting.
3.3. Weekly Patterns of EPC Usage and Average Betting
Amount. Figure 1 shows the weekly trends of EPC usage
rate for 20 weeks comparing autonomous-type and man-
datory-type venues since the introduction of a mandatory
system in specific horsing and bicycling venues in 2016.
Interestingly, the EPC usage rate is higher in mandatory-
type venues for horse betting, while it is substantially higher
in autonomous-type venues for cycle betting throughout the
period. Except for the last few weeks, about 10–15% of tickets
in mandatory-type venues for both horse and cycle betting
were issued as EPC throughout the period, but a substantial
difference was found for EPC use in autonomous-type
venues between horse betting (5–10%) and cycle betting
(20–30%). Such difference implies that EPC adoption is
highly dependent upon how each gambling industry pro-
motes the use of EPC, such as marketing, promotion, and
advertisement, particularly for autonomous-type venues. It
is also noticeable that, in horse-betting sites, the EPC use in
autonomous-type venues was lower initially but continu-
ously caught up with that in mandatory-type venues. Both
autonomous-type and mandatory-type venues for horse-
race betting induced a massive addition of EPC users after
the 17th week, due to industry-wide campaigns.
Figure 2 shows whether or not each horse betting
gambler’s betting pattern has changed over time during the
20-week period in autonomous-type and mandatory-type
venues. It appears that the change in their betting
Table 1: Comparison between mandatory-type and autonomous-type venues in horse betting.
Category
Types Analysis of difference
Mandatory Autonomous t-value Significance
level
% of cash/cards among total number of tickets issued
Cash 86.85 89.40 1.508
0.070Electronic
cards 13.15 10.60 1.508
% of cash/cards among total revenue
Cash 88.66 90.54 1.663
0.053Electronic
cards 11.34 9.46 1.663
Avg. betting per ticket issued (KRW)
Cash 12,597 14,307 11.550 0.000
Electronic
cards 10,866 13,135 6.138 0.000
Avg. betting per person (KRW)
Cash 479,493 546,038 7.050 0.000
Electronic
cards 61,284 56,888 0.697 0.245
Avg. number of tickets issued per person
Cash 38.08 38.19 0.150 0.441
Electronic
cards 5.79 4.55 1.616 0.057
% of each betting range among total number of
tickets issued
Cash
KRW 30,000 90.26 90.16 0.492 0.313
>KRW 30,000
KRW 50,000 9.74 4.70 27.014 0.000
>KRW 50,000
KRW 70,000 0.00 1.26 97.404 0.000
>KRW 70,000 0.00 3.88 56.254 0.000
Electronic
cards
KRW 30,000 94.82 92.80 5.404 0.000
>KRW 30,000
KRW 50,000 3.47 4.42 4.222 0.000
>KRW 50,000
KRW 70,000 0.76 1.27 8.825 0.000
>KRW 70,000 0.95 1.51 5.233 0.000
4Mathematical Problems in Engineering
preferences (cash versus EPC betting) was minimal during
the first few months, except that the betting amount by EPC
systems continued to increase in autonomous-type venues.
However, the cash betting amount significantly dropped
after around the 17th week, mostly due to the dramatic
increase of the betting amount by EPC. Considering that
cash purchases consist of 85–90% of the total tickets issued
in both types of venues, a significant reduction effect of the
average betting amount per person began to be conspicuous
after 3-4 months of implementing the EPC system, in both
Table 2: Comparison between mandatory-type and autonomous-type venues in cycle betting.
Category
Types Analysis of difference
Mandatory Autonomous t-value Significance
level
% of cash/cards among total number of tickets issued
Cash 87.39 73.74 13.191 0.000
Electronic
cards 12.61 26.26 13.191 0.000
% of cash/cards among total revenue
Cash 91.65 87.88 5.879 0.000
Electronic
cards 8.35 12.12 5.879 0.000
Avg. betting per ticket issued (KRW)
Cash 21,594 30,436 32.021 0.000
Electronic
cards 13,653 11,675 5.143 0.000
Avg. betting per person (KRW)
Cash 278,532 372,065 10.898 0.000
Electronic
cards 25,488 51,599 8.769 0.000
Avg. number of tickets issued per person
Cash 12.89 12.23 2.140 0.019
Electronic
cards 1.86 4.41 10.796 0.000
% of each betting range among total number of
tickets issued
Cash
KRW 30,000 72.92 68.04 6.916 0.000
>KRW 30,000
KRW 50,000 27.08 12.27 23.220 0.000
>KRW 50,000
KRW 70,000 0.00 3.41 59.064 0.000
>KRW 70,000 0.00 16.28 64.451 0.000
Electronic
cards
KRW 30,000 90.83 91.89 1.954 0.029
>KRW 30,000
KRW 50,000 4.89 5.44 1.570 0.063
>KRW 50,000
KRW 70,000 1.05 0.92 2.302 0.014
>KRW 70,000 3.23 1.75 -4.489 0.000
35.0
30.0
25.0
20.0
15.0
%
10.0
5.0
0.0
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% using EPC among total number of tickets issued
(Horse betting)
Auton omou s
Mandatory
(a)
35.0
30.0
25.0
20.0
%
15.0
10.0
5.0
0.0
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% using EPC among total number of tickets issued
(Cycle betting)
Autonomous
Mandatory
(b)
Figure 1: Weekly trends of EPC usage rate (autonomous-type versus mandatory-type venues): (a) horse betting; (b) cycle betting.
Mathematical Problems in Engineering 5
autonomous-type and mandatory-type venues. e findings
imply that the potential role of EPC in mitigating prob-
lematic gambling behaviors could be marginal in the be-
ginning but could be eventually sizable even in autonomous
settings, if the EPC system is constantly and effectively
promoted and marketed. However, these temporal patterns
were not observed for the cycle-betting data, which may
indicate some unique difference in gambling behaviors or
EPC operations in the horse- and cycle-betting industry in
South Korea.
4. Discussion
is study evaluated the impacts of the electronic players’
card (EPC) system adopted in specific Korean horse- and
bicycling-racing venues on gambling behavior, revenue, and
responsible gambling (RG) policies by comparing the venues
with the mandatory versus autonomous adoption of elec-
tronic cards. To our knowledge, the present article is the first
to examine preliminary data available from the NGCC
which include various outcomes of EPC systems in Korea.
While RG principles would suggest that EPC systems might
discourage problem gambling behaviors regardless of venue
type, the findings from this study reveal significant differ-
ences between the two types of sports betting. As expected,
we found that electronic cards were more widely adopted
not only in mandatory-type venues for horse betting but also
quite unexpectedly in autonomous-type venues for cycle
betting. Such conflicting results might imply that the
adoption rate of EPC systems depends on the level of
marketing or promotion efforts across the venues rather
than the types of EPC systems (mandatory versus autono-
mous) or sport betting game (horse versus cycle betting).
For both horse betting and cycle betting, it is found that
that larger bets were more frequently placed at venues with
autonomous card registration compared to mandatory-type
venues, mostly due to high-priced cash purchases. e av-
erage number of tickets and betting amount per person
using EPCs were higher in mandatory-type venues for horse
betting than in autonomous-type venues for cycle betting.
During the 20-week study period, the EPC use in autono-
mous venues was lower initially but gradually caught up with
that in mandatory-type venues for horse betting, while the
EPC use was always higher in autonomous-type venues for
cycle betting. Similar to other literatures which suggest that
bet limits can have a positive influence on problem gambling
behaviors (see Auer et al., 2020), the current results suggest
that the continuing operation of EPC system in horse betting
may have some positive influence on alleviating problem
gambling even on a voluntary basis in autonomous settings.
Yet this impact was not observed for cycle betting. Such
differences indicate that users across these different types of
sports betting exhibit distinct characteristics or gambling
behavior in using electronic cards.
ere are intriguing policy considerations for the NGCC
and the gambling industry in Korea to consider with the
implementation of EPC systems across various gambling
venue types. For example, some research has shown that, in
some countries such as Australia, “overall, it appears that
playing with an account card or ticket assists players to
gamble more responsibly compared to players using cash”
([18], p. 232). is study may also inform public health
professionals and policymakers regarding the potential role
of EPC in mitigating negative gambling behaviors, which
may contribute to positive policies that reduce the social and
economic costs of problem gambling addiction in Korea.
Korea’s National Master Plan is an ambitious one that is
being presented as a blueprint for responsible gaming
policies [5]. Yet, this plan has been slower to be adopted than
originally designed by the NGCC and has received a sig-
nificant amount of critique from the Korean gambling in-
dustry regarding mandatory enrolment and implementation
[9]; this opposition is similar to that derision seen in other
areas of the world where cashless payment technologies have
been adopted and more industry responsibility has been
endorsed (see Nisbett, Jackson, and Christensen, 2016).
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Mandatory
Average betting per person by cash (KRW)
700,000
600,000
500,000
400,000
300,000
200,000
100,000
0
(a)
120,000
100,000
80,000
60,000
40,000
20,000
0
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Week 10
Week 11
Week 12
Week 13
Week 14
Week 15
Week 16
Week 17
Week 18
Week 19
Week 20
Auton omou s
Mandatory
Average betting per person by EPC (KRW)
(b)
Figure 2: Weekly trends of average betting amount per person in horse betting (cash versus EPC; autonomous-type versus mandatory-type
venues): (a) cash betting; (b) EPC betting.
6Mathematical Problems in Engineering
Despite the contribution of this study to the literature,
several limitations should be noted. First of all, while the
study findings show anecdotal evidence to explain differ-
ences between the two types of sports betting and the two
types of EPC operation (mandatory versus autonomous)
observed here, these data do not allow for more advanced
statistical testing and modelling. Ideally, more data will be
collected, which will allow for control and statistical sig-
nificance to be tested in regression models. Second, the
reduction effect of average betting amounts on EPC use may
not be directly related to a decline in problem gambling
behavior; this finding could be only a temporary adjustment
phenomenon. Lastly, an additional limitation is the small
sample size of the data from a total of nine gambling venues
collected over 20 weeks, which clearly limits the statistical
inferences that can be drawn and the overall generalizability.
Accessing additional data from Korea, which allows for
more statistically advanced analyses across longer data pe-
riods, is a natural next step to determine if the results re-
ported here are consistent beyond the preliminary snapshots
currently available. Although future studies should focus on
overcoming the present study’s limitations, the unique
contribution of the current article is that it allows an initial
look at the impact of implementing mandatory EPC oper-
ations on sites with a naturally occurring experimental
design. As such, the results of this pilot study can be used as a
foundation for more nuanced discussions regarding the
expansions of designing and operating the EPC system as
well as the long-term implications of such policies.
5. Conclusions
As Asia continues to dominate the largest gambling market
in the world [2], liberal-leaning gambling jurisdictions si-
multaneously struggle with rebranding the gambling en-
terprise in the public eye from one of a banned, sinful
activity to one that embraces the community and accepts
gambling as a harmless, fun entertainment. e incentives to
legitimize gambling are considerable, as revenues from
tourism and gambling are economically significant. As
Korea appears to be adopting a more expansive policy for
gambling similar to Macau and Australian Reno/liberal risk
model [1], common social perceptions regarding main-
stream acceptance, the founding and integration of com-
munity-based gambling facilities, and deeply ingrained
cultural issues regarding gambling fallacies within Korean
and Asian culture are some of the critical topics that must be
addressed to ensure responsible gaming practices. Per “re-
sponsive regulation” ideals perpetuated in more liberalized/
individual risk localities, the mandatory versus autonomous
adoption of EPC systems could be viewed as a collaborative
relationship between government regulators and the gam-
bling industry in cooperation with community stakeholders
[8]. On the other hand, the adoption of more public health
focused approaches, such as requiring players to enrol and
register cards with betting limits, could also be viewed as an
effort toward reducing gambling-related harm, which is
more consistent with the public health consumer protection-
oriented regulatory scheme [1, 19, 20].
Public health perspectives that inform policy and
practice present opportunities for increased consideration
and evaluation of the overall well-being of populations
impacted by prevention, promotion, and protections that
minimize harm [21]. It also emphasizes that responsible
gambling could focus on the individual as well as the
community with a more holistic view [22]. Toward that
end, recent public health focused research suggests that
gambling harm is not limited to problem gamblers with
clinical levels of addiction but that at-risk gamblers account
for a substantial and major proportion of all negative
gambling outcomes incurred [23]. Moreover, some
scholars argue that a shift toward self-regulation of the
gambling industry forces to a public health consumer
protection model is ideal for responsible gambling, since it
embraces the operator duties to limit harms, endorsing
practices such as mandatory precommitment limits and
fees imposed on locals who gamble [24]. Without question,
such conceptual issues point to the importance of further
studying Korea’s natural experiments with EPC systems
and considering how these mandatory versus voluntary
adoptions of EPC systems impact policies, practices, and
procedures. It remains to be seen as to what the dominant
model will become in Korea. Such considerations are
central to reducing harms and ensuring consumer pro-
tection while balancing the interests of industry and
government ventures.
Questions remain regarding whether the findings of this
study would hold up across time, with larger sample sizes, or
across gambling venues. Further qualitative inquiries that
delve into the thoughts and feelings of Korean gamblers as
they adopted EPCs that limit bets would be helpful in better
understanding decision-making and the impact of RG tools
to support healthy gambling habits. Future studies might
seek a mixed-methods approach that would allow for such
analyses. While empirical literature has suggested that bet
limits (voluntary and mandatory) have beneficial results as
part of RG strategies to control problem gambling behaviors
in other parts of the world (e.g., Auer and Griffiths, 2021),
the data in the present study do not allow for a compre-
hensive analysis. Are there cultural differences in attitudes
toward RG tools and implementation across varying gam-
bling venues? ese issues are the ones to pursue in future
research as well.
Data Availability
e data that support the findings of this study are available
from the first author (krpark@kic.re.kr) upon reasonable
request.
Conflicts of Interest
e authors declare that there are no conflicts of interest.
Acknowledgments
is work was supported by Incheon National University
Research Grant in 2018.
Mathematical Problems in Engineering 7
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8Mathematical Problems in Engineering
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