Best Online Casinos in South Korea
While South Korea is very technologically advanced country, and you could expect a developed mobile gambling marketing there, in reality, this is far from truth. The point is, gambling is strictly regulated in South Korea - regulated up to the point of being prohibited. Talking about offline gaming houses, there is basically only one big land based South Korea casino - the Kangwon - where Koreans are allowed to play games legally and relatively freely.
Talking about online gambling, the situation is complicated. There are no legal local operators offering gambling services at websites. Anyone who attempts to run an illegal site gets persecuted, and there are cases of casino operators arrests even in the neighboring countries. Now, in theory, Koreans have access to reputable and licensed international casinos that accept players from South Korea as real money customers. However, in practice, this may not work this way. It is mainly foreigners who has access to offline and online sites in South Korea.
In case you are interested in playing an online casino South Korea, and you are a Korean, perhaps this is a bad idea. There are really licensed, safe, and reliable sites that would accept you as a real money customer, and will never expose your personal information to third parties - however, your own government may find out you are gambling, and there is a risk of persecution. If you are a tourist visiting this country - the things start looking a bit brighter. Below, we list the best paying online casinos for South Korea, and you can choose one of best online casino in Korea for betting.
To learn more about the nuances of gambling in Korea, check out the review.
List of Online Casinos for players from South Korea
History of Gambling in South Korea
Gambling has always been part of the local culture and everyday life in South Korea. Its long history, on the other hand, has dozens of examples when gambling became a reason for major problems. While the gambling heritage in forms of games and betting is valuable from cultural point of view, it seems that South Koreans are as passionate about real money betting as Vietnamese are. And this passion may have serious social consequences.
As a result, betting is prohibited in South Korea officially since 1967, when Incheon Olympos Hotel Casino was opened - but only for foreigners. The point of the state is to protect its citizens and prevent gambling addiction, to which the region may be historically predisposed.
Starting from 2000s, more land based Korea casinos opened, but also only for the country’s visitors. One of the rare facilities that allow Koreans in is the Kangwon Land Casino. For years, it remains one of the few venues that accepts locals as visitors and players.
H3 - Current Situation on Gambling in South Korea
Currently, there are many land based gaming houses located around Korea, however, most of them accept only foreigners. The Kangwon Land Casino in South Korea is basically the only one location where locals can freely enjoy the casino atmosphere, and make real money bets on games. The players are allowed to visit this facility only 180 days of the year, total.
The majority of casino entertainments are games of chance, like slots, scratch cards, wheel of fortune, different lotteries, and roulette. The reason why is because the government wants to prevent the locals from developing gambling skills - well, that at least sounds reasonable. Poker is banned in Korea, as well as some other games of skill.
As for other land-based betting entertainments, the allowed include lotteries, horse racing, bullfighting, and sports betting on bicycle racing, baseball, basketball, volleyball, wrestling, and golf. All these facilities are run by the corresponding government departments.
We have to admit that, while the Korean government is overprotective and extremely restrictive, their restrictions are at least logical and consistent.
Now, talking about current situation with online gambling, things are complicated and even dangerous. On the one hand, South Korea online casinos are seemingly not blocked from access by the users in South Korea, which means you can enjoy online gambling in Taiwan. But there were cases of persecution. So, we would recommend being really cautious with making bets in the web, and choose really secure platforms, like online casino Japan. Foreigners may feel a little more freedom, perhaps, but not residents.
Another real danger of online gambling particularly in South Korea is, surprisingly, North Korea. Hackers from North Korea hack the sites, user’s accounts, and track transactions to steal money, and provide another source of income to the communist regime. This is why South Koreans are strongly recommended to be attentive and put their security first. There were cases when even well-protected websites run by big international operators were hacked by the NK experts.
South Korea Gambling Laws
Now let’s talk about the actual laws.
According to Article 246 of Chapter 23 of the Criminal Act, South Korean punters can face a fine of up to $5.000, or be imprisoned for a period of up to three years, but wagering real funds at an online casino South Korea - regardless of how licensed and certified this casino is.
If being an illegal online punter in South Korea already seems a bad idea, running an illegal casino platform in or for this country is even worse. The Korean government foresees life sentences for those operators. Okay, this does not apply to big international corporations that simply don’t mind having South Koreans as their real money customers. However, smaller businesses should avoid the risks. There are cases when illegal operators were actually arrested in the neighboring states for running a betting platform that functions for South Korea.
Before you become impressed with the South Korean gambling regime, let us tell you more. The government actually controls and persecutes gambling activities of its residents abroad. The point is, passionate punters who can afford it often travel to the neighboring countries to enjoy the freedom of betting. Of course, some occasional betting by an average individual is not controlled or punished. However, there is a term “habitual overseas gambler”, and the state wants to prevent its citizens from becoming such. As a result, rich people like businessmen, or executives of corporations, are fined for gambling and losing impressive sums of money at casinos abroad. If the state finds out about one’s big losses/wins, or about habitual overseas gambling, the individual is to face considerable fines, or even time in prison.
Regulatory Authorities in South Korea
In South Korea, the regulating body is The National Gambling Control Commission that consists of Chairman, ten Commissioners, and four Vice Ministers of different ministries. This authority overviews and regulates all the market in all its aspects, from A to Z.
Taxation Laws on Gambling in South Korea
Operators running legal businesses in SK pay revenues to the government. As for players, those who plays lotto pay from 22% to 30% taxes on their winnings; these taxes are withheld at the source. Other types of bets and winnings are not known to be taxed. As for casino winnings, they are not subject to taxes, as well.
Land-based Casinos in South Korea
Before we review any of the brick and mortar gaming venues, please mind that the majority of them are opened for foreigners, so, if you are just visiting the country, gambling is easier for you than if you are actually a local.
If you are a local, Kangwon Land Casino is the best option for you, since all locals are allowed if they are 19 years old and older. However, there is still a catch. The Kangwon Land Casino was built mainly to encourage development in the abandoned mining areas, to provide economic growth here. But, surprisingly, people actually living in the area where the venue is located have more limited access to gambling than Koreans travelling from other cities. This is because the state wants to encourage travelling from other parts of the country for gamble, but at the same time, does not want to allow the local residents to gamble often, simply because they are geographically privileged to have access to games.
Opened back in 2000, this huge facility has as many as 200 table games, and 1300+ video slots machines. The games include Roulettes, Baccarat, Blackjack, Sai-Tai, and Poker. Besides hotel, spa, and restaurants, the actual casino serves free beverages and musical entertainment.
This casino in Korea Seoul has been in operation since 1968. In terms of gambling, it offers 90 slots machines, and 140 table games. It is a foreigner-only casino, by the way. There is a VIP player room, a bar, and events floor.
This casino in Seoul South Korea first opened its doors to visitors back in 2006. By now, it offers 70+ table games, over 120 slots machines, and four separate poker tables. There is a hotel and a restaurant.
Banking Options for Gambling in South Korea
Generally speaking, locals gambling offline can bet with cash. If not, plastic cards are accepted by all legal licensed venues. The same applies to foreigners - you can make bets in cash, or by using your plastic, including:
- American Express
Those wanting to try their luck online (although are not recommended to do so) should better use one of the following online payment processing systems:
- Apple Pay
- Google Pay
Please keep in mind that online gambling in South Korea is held illegal, and your bank transactions are most likely to be blocked. E-wallets are safer and more reliable in this aspect. If you are looking for PayPal casino online, pay attention if PayPal is allowed for both deposit and withdrawal.
Popular Cities for Gambling in South Korea
The number of cities where casinos or other betting venues are situation is not so large, so we will list all those cities here:
- Sabuk-eup - 1
- Sokcho-si - 1
- Busan - 3
- Changwon City - 1
- Daegu - 1
- Incheon - 5
- Jeju - 10
- Pyeongchang-gun - 1
- Seogwipo-Si - 3
- Seoul - 4
These numbers include both gaming houses and racing courses.
Facts About South Korea
While South Korea is far from being a gambler’s paradise for locals, this technologically advanced and culturally rich country has other surprises to offer. As for the tourists, besides playing games of chance, this country is definitely must-visit due to its stunning landscapes - both urban and natural. To give you a bigger picture, we have collected a list of interesting facts:
- Soju - the local brand of alcohol - is the top of alcohol brands sold worldwide
- Koreans are actually active consumers of liquor compared to many other nations
- there are three most widespread last names - Lee, Park, and Kim
- in Korea, everyone is one year older than international age, because it is believed people are already one year old when born
- one-fourth of South Koreans had plastic surgery
- love motels are extremely popular here
- Korean drama series are insanely popular in the world
- the country is considered very safe to live in
- food and local cuisine are one of the crucial aspects of life