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Dong Hang Lottery Promotes a Sound Lottery Culture in Korea
Interview with James Kang, CTO of Korean Lottery Operator
Dong Hang Lottery Promotes a Sound Lottery Culture in Korea
  • By Jung Suk-yee
  • March 19, 2019, 16:08
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James Kang, CTO of Korean Lottery Operator
James Kang, CTO of Korean Lottery Operator

What is your personal background?

I graduated from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with degrees in Math and Computer Science. Regarding my experience in the lottery industry, I worked with International Game Technology as a consultant for 11 years. I then formed Dong Hang Lottery consortium in late 2017 and submitted our bid to become the national lottery operator for Korea. Subsequently, on March 8, 2018, we were awarded a contract as the sole lottery provider in Korea for the next five years. Dong Hang Lottery later offered me a position as Chief Strategy Officer and Chief Technology Officer, which I accepted.

What are the main priorities and goals in your role?

The stable growth of the Korean lottery market is paramount and remains our main goal. As the only National Lottery Operator appointed by the Korean Lottery Commission, Dong Hang Lottery provides lottery players reliable and convenient services. Thus, we developed an electronic lottery and our customers now have the ability to buy tickets through our website using a computer or directly with their mobile phones.

On December 2018, Dong Hang Lottery started the sales of Lotto 6/45, Pension Lottery, Instant and Electronic Lottery. Dong Hang Lottery has laid the foundation for purchasing lotto tickets online, giving customers the opportunity to purchase lottery tickets to people living on islands, mountains or isolated areas; to include those with disabilities who cannot purchase tickets otherwise.

What are the major challenges in the Korean lottery industry and how are you to overcome them?

It can be difficult to develop new services in compliance with the laws and regulations of the Lottery. However, we are steadfast in our pursuit of providing and promoting a sound lottery culture. In order to achieve this, we advocate responsible gaming and ticket purchasing along with self-immersion testing which focuses on ways to keep gaming recreational while preventing players from gambling addiction. We also emphasize the contribution of lottery profits to social projects and charity. We want to arouse the public awareness on the action conducted by the Korean Lottery Commission and our company.

In March 2018, the Korean Lottery Commission of the Ministry of Finance and Strategy selected Dong Hang Lottery as the 4th term national lottery operator. This was due in large part to our consortium being based on the fairness of the lottery business and the ethics of the participating companies. The consortium of the Korean lottery includes trust companies such as, Jeju Semiconductor, Korea Electronic Finance, KIS Information Communication, Nice Payments, K Bank, and the Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation (MBC Nanum), just to name a few.

What were the most significant technical issues when taking over the nation lottery operation?

Fortunately, the Korean Lottery market is quite mature and we benefited from the fact that Koreans are accustomed to the lottery; 70% of adults in Korea purchase lottery tickets. We started Online Lottery and this new service requires a cutting-edge technology, which was not an easy task because of the low flexibility we had to improve our installations. We have made significant changes to our systems and while integrating IBM Security Software, which was a necessary adjustment. Dong Hang Lottery now operates high-performance equipment with a superior system.

Dong Hang Lottery's newly introduced service in the lottery business utilizes block-chain technology for internet sales and electronic lottery system. Also, this technology has greatly increased the reliability of our system by strengthening the security of the electronic lottery system. Additionally, the lottery network for Lotto 6/45 and Pension Lottery was revised to ensure a fair lottery.

How do you keep your team motivated?

Personally, I believe our contribution to society should come first. The lottery fund represents 42% of total lottery sales; and is used for public interest projects such as housing support projects for low-income families, cultural and arts promotion, cultural heritage preservation projects, and welfare projects for underprivileged people. Dong Hang Lottery has become a public trusted company through the operation of secure, transparent, and reliable lottery business.

Last year, the Lottery Fund accumulated US$1.8 billion. I like to encourage my team by reminding them that our performance is vital. We have an opportunity to provide hope and make one’s dream of becoming a millionaire a reality; especially for those who are less fortunate.

What are your company’s expectations for next year at this time?

After the launch of our operations last year in December, we experienced a warm welcome from the public and lottery sales amounted roughly US$4.3 billion.

Dong Hang Lottery plans to continue the growth of the Korean lottery business by constantly improving our system, distribution structure, and sustainable development of our products.

Currently, we are in the process of acquiring ‘ISO/EIC 27001’ (International Organization for Standardization and the International Electro-Technical Commission) and ‘WLA-SCS 2016’ (World Lottery-Association Security Control Standard) certifications from the World Lottery Association which has a one-year minimum activity requirement within the lottery business that we will satisfy later this year. We believe that by this time next year, we will be a proud member of the most prestigious Lottery Associations world-wide.