In communist North Korea, gambling is subject to hard labour of up to three years by criminal law, hence the confirmation of legal betting on horse racing by state TV was rare.>> According to North Korean state media, a series of races took place at the Mirim Riding Club near Pyongyang on Sunday.
Footage aired ahead of the meeting showed jockeys storming out of the starting gates. The state broadcasters says people as young as 12 can now place bets in an effort to raise public interest, particularly among the more well-off citizens.>> That with general drive to show that living centers have improved.
It also shows that there are more rich Koreans who have made money in markets outside of the controlled economy and that North Korea, facing sanctions, are trying to capture part of that money.>> Pyongyang's access to foreign currency has been squeezed as it faces bans on key exports like coal and seafood.
The Mirim Riding Club is one of Kim Jong Un's flagship developments and hopes to capture some important overseas cash. The North Korean leader has been on a luxurious leisure facility building spree of late, including swimming pools and resorts as he tries to fatten up the regime's purse.>>