Slot Machine Owners Sue Government

Former owners of video slot machines widely called „Bada Iyagi“ (The Sea Story) Tuesday lodged a lawsuit against the government with the Seoul Central District Court, alleging the government’s inconsistent regulations left them bankrupt.

A total of 19 former slot machine owners filing the lawsuit said the government, which had once encouraged people to invest in the business, turned their backs on the business as public sentiment turned against the gambling business. In addition, heavy taxes were levied on them.

In the lawsuit, they claimed the „Korea Media Ranking Board authorized it as a game previously. But later the board classed it under gambling, confiscated slot machines and shut down the business in the end. It is an act violating property rights.“

They requested the government compensate them 30 million won each.

But the compensation amount is expected to be much larger as thousands of former owners are also poised to take legal action against the government

„I invested more than one billion won that I had made over the last two decades to purchase the machines. But my shop was forced to shut down and all my machines were confiscated,“ said a former gambling machine operator. „I believed the business was sound and poured all my fortune into it. But now I owe 1.37 billion in tax and have a 130 million won debt.“

Another operator identified as Kim said „I made nothing through the business. I was slapped with huge tax and will lose my house.“

The gambling scandal involving „The Sea Story“ rattled the country in 2006 as allegations arose implicating President Roh Moo-hyun’s nephew and his close aides for involvement in the illicit business.