Senior monks from South Korea's largest Buddhist sect have offered to resign after the release of photos purportedly showing fellow monks gambling illegally.

South Korean television has aired photos of eight monks huddled for a poker game at a hotel in the country's southwest. The photos reportedly came from video footage secretly taken by another monk from the same sect and released to the media.

The Jogye Order says six senior monks offered to resign Thursday over the scandal.

South Koreans are not allowed to gamble anywhere in the country except at a single casino in the northeast.

Buddhism is the oldest major religion in South Korea. The government estimated in 2005 that Buddhists made up about 23 percent of the population.