USFK reinforces rules on illegal gambling on bases
CAMP RED CLOUD, South Korea — U.S. Forces Korea has released a new regulation that spells out specific actions to keep illegal gamblers out of on-base slot machine rooms.
The nine-page regulation on illegal gambling prevention, dated April 1, makes clear that punitive action can be taken against military, civilians and non-U.S. citizens who break the rules.
The regulation directs managers of facilities housing the slot machines to keep out illegal gamblers, USFK spokesman Col. Franklin Childress said Wednesday. Staff at facilities with gambling must check the identification cards of every gambler, according to the regulation.
In December and January, Stars and Stripes heard from dozens of current and former Defense Department personnel who said they have seen South Korean nationals and other unauthorized people using base slot machines.
Others claimed they had witnessed or experienced loan sharking operations inside the gaming rooms.
The U.S. Army and Air Force generated more than $83.6 million in revenue via 1,191 slot machines in South Korea in fiscal 2007, according to data provided by the Army’s Family MWR Command and the Air Force Personnel Center.
The gambling profits are used in part to fund MWR programs.
The new regulation requires military police to patrol the gaming areas regularly “in a professional, non-discriminatory manner while being careful not to unduly disrupt the recreational nature of the site.”
Military police also can detain suspected illegal gamblers and report them to South Korean police.
“Those appearing to flee from the gambling machine site prior to the arrival of law enforcement personnel shall, if practical, be detained by law enforcement and also required to present identification,” the regulation states.
Police also are tasked with keeping an eye on the staff in the facilities. If staff members are not checking their customers, police must report the lack of oversight.
A servicemember caught aiding illegal gambling can be subject to court-martial for violating a lawful general order, the regulation states.
Civilians are subject to adverse administrative action, which can include anything from reprimand to banishment from U.S. bases.