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South Korea is one of the most advanced and economically vibrant countries in Asia, although Asian countries do tend to be behind the times so to speak compared with developed nations in some other parts of the world, particularly in comparison to a lot of European countries, as far as gambling goes, and South Korea is as well, at this point anyway.
Commercial gambling is something that is fairly new to Asia and while they have embraced it quite a bit over the last few years, this is an area which has traditionally been quite conservative when it comes to permitting gambling, and the focus thus far has been on looking to capture tourist dollars, more so than establishing a strong domestic gambling market.
This may be due to a view of gambling in Asia that tends to view it in a harsher light than elsewhere, seeing it as more predatory, where countries mind less that foreign tourists are subject to this than their own people, who they still look to “protect” from it to a degree.
This certainly does appear to be the case in South Korea. In some countries in Asia, the poorer ones in particular, they don’t worry so much about this due to the casinos they set up being too upscale for a lot of their people to be able to gamble at, although in South Korea, it’s pretty affluent as far as Asian countries go, and there are many that would like to gamble at South Korean casinos, but they are for the most part forced outside the country to do so.
So South Korea does have a lot of casinos, 22 in fact, and 18 of them are large casino hotels, but with the exception of a single one in a remote location in South Korea, they cater to foreign tourists only, and South Koreans are not allowed to play there. (1)
The laws of South Korea in fact make gambling illegal other than in certain circumstances, which include being able to gamble at this one remote casino, the Kangwon Land Casino, as well as playing the state sanctioned lottery, which includes the ability to bet on sporting contests, and betting on racing, such as horse racing, cycling, and boat races.
Other forms of gambling are subject to fines, under article 247 of the South Korean Criminal Act up to 5 million won (about $4500). Operating an illegal gambling establishment risks a fine up to 20 million won ($18,000). (2)
So South Koreans for the most part do their land based gambling while on vacation in other countries, particularly in Macau and Singapore, which are both fairly close by, but even this is considered a crime, even though the crime takes place in another country essentially.
There is a movement in the Korean government to look to change this though, and a top government official has recently spoken out against what he calls these archaic laws, although there is also strong opposition within the government to maintain these laws, it might be a while before we see some real change happen here. (3)
This would certainly help the gambling industry here grow even more, and there are a lot of people in South Korea who would probably rather spend their gambling dollars in their own country rather than have to travel elsewhere to do it, and this would certainly expand the land based poker industry here.
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Playing Poker in South Korea
In spite of it being illegal for South Koreans to gamble outside of the few permitted gambling options available to them, illegal gambling here is rampant. There are some underground casinos but most of the illegal gambling here occurs online. The government estimates that the illegal gambling market here is worth at least $66 billion dollars a year, a huge amount.
This is in spite of the crackdowns that the government is known to take against it, and as is the case in many other countries, if the people want to gamble, they will do it in spite of it not being legal to do so. (4)
As far as online gambling goes, it’s so popular here that there are actually illegal South Korean sites that run even though the government tries hard to get them shut down. They also look to block foreign sites, although a lot of South Koreans are hip to technology and access online gambling sites through virtual private networks and use internet wallets to defeat their government’s attempts to impede their access to these sites.
The government is so serious about shutting down online gambling that they have even gone as far as to shut down Facebook social games, in an effort to prevent people from playing poker, even though the games there are with play money, and even though non gambling games such as Farmville ended up being blocked as well. That‘s mighty serious stuff indeed. (5)
Poker is pretty popular here, especially online poker, and while there are underground games that do run, almost all of the poker here is played online these days. There is also live poker at the casinos but once again they exclude South Koreans. Walter Hill Poker in Seoul is a particularly good spot if you are just visiting.
Seoul now has a spot on the Asian Poker Tour now, which certainly doesn’t hurt promoting its popularity in this country.
Live poker is pretty much a niche thing these days and while live poker does have certain features about it that you can’t get playing online poker, almost all real money poker these days is played online anyway, so the more limited access that South Koreans have to live poker is probably not seen as a big deal, and it really isn’t given that anyone can log on to the internet and play as much online poker as they want, any time they want.
Korea certainly does not have regulated poker at this time, and it’s illegal for South Korean companies to operate online poker sites, although in this country that doesn’t stop them. As far as playing online poker goes, there are no specific laws against it, although it is still believed to be illegal anyway, but that doesn’t stop a lot of people from playing, and it is extremely difficult to catch people doing so, especially if you take precautions, as the players generally do here, and are to some degree actually forced into doing so.
So keeping in mind how eager the government is to prevent South Koreans from playing online poker, it is certainly advisable that players who wish to do so use a VPN to connect to it and use an internet wallet as well, and there are a great many South Koreans who do so and get to enjoy playing this great game online.
2. Is Gambling Permitted Under South Korean Law?
3. South Korea To Revise its Gambling Laws
4. Online Gambling in South Korea
5. Korea Shuts Down Facebook Games
About the Author
Sadonna PriceAuthorSadonna is a mom of two and an avid poker player who also enjoys online casino games. She has been part of the online gambling industry for over a decade, working as a news and blog writer. Sadonna still plays Texas hold’em in her free time while her daily job revolves around providing insights into the online gambling world using her creativity and writing skills.
Is online poker legal in South Korea? ›
Online Poker Legislation in South Korea
As far as playing online poker goes, there are no specific laws against it, although it's illegal for South Korean companies to operate online poker sites. However, illegal South Korean sites run despite the many crackdown attempts made by the government.
The following countries and territories are blocked from freemium activity: India. South Korea.Can Koreans gamble outside of the country? ›
Whereas South Koreans can gamble on an array of games including a lottery, horse racing, boat racing and cycling, casino gambling is illegal — even for Koreans who travel outside the country.Can Korean citizens gamble outside of Korea? ›
Gambling in Korea is termed illegal, and lawbreakers are judged harshly by the law. Citizens are not allowed to gamble in and outside their country. There are traditional-based casinos that only allow tourists to play in their facilities.Is online gaming illegal in Korea? ›
The Korean Criminal Code prohibits all forms of gambling and lotteries, and their business operations, with the exception of certain types of permissible betting activities pursuant to separate legal provisions.Is stake legal in Korea? ›
Lotteries, horse racing, boat racing, and cycling are all legal forms of gambling in South Korea. However, casino gambling is strictly prohibited — with locals facing a three-year prison sentence if they're caught having a flutter at a tourist casino.Is poker popular in Korea? ›
Korea is very much an up-and-coming venue for poker. The popularity of the game amongst visiting tourists has helped it spread to locals and provide incentives for the major poker tournaments to start including the country in their global tours.Where can I play poker in Seoul? ›
- Daegu Casino Poker Room. Favorite. Tables. Daegu.
- Paradise Casino Walkerhill. Favorite. 6 Tables. Seoul.
- Paradise City Casino. Favorite. Tables. Seoul.
- Paradise Poker at Paradise Casino Busan. Favorite. 4 Tables. Busan.
- PokerKing Club Jeju in Paradise Grand Casino. Favorite. 5 Tables. Jeju.
It's legal to change your IP address to South Korea in the vast majority of countries. While South Korea does have strict online censorship, VPNs are legal (VPNs are only illegal in a handful of countries such as China).How many casinos allow residents in Korea? ›
Of the country's 18 casinos, only one permits Korean residents to gamble. Kangwon Land Casino is a casino resort located at the foot of High1 Ski and Golf Resort in Jeongseongun, approximately three hours by car from Seoul.
How many casinos are in South Korea? ›
Size of Market: Currently, there are 17 casinos in South Korea: three in Seoul, one in Incheon, two in Kangwondo, one in Kyongju, two in Busan, and eight on Jeju Island.Can you pick up your bowl in Korea? ›
Unlike many other Asian countries, it's unusual to lift your soup or rice bowl while eating your meal in South Korea. Korean Dining Etiquette dictates that you should make sure that your soup or rice bowl is on the table throughout the meal and use your spoon to eat the rice instead of chopsticks.
Online gambling is strictly prohibited under South Korean law. The reason for this is that South Korean laws do not make a distinction between land based and online gambling.Can Koreans play slot machines? ›
For several decades, casino games have been popular throughout Asia – especially in South Korea. South Korea is known for its fun and exciting culture, so it's hardly surprising that natives enjoy playing casino games. They do this at both land-based casinos and online.Can you go to jail for cheating in a video game in Korea? ›
Distributing programs to modify or gain an advantage during play incurs fines of up to $43,000 or 5 years in jail.Is cheating in games illegal in Korea? ›
But it's also led to South Korea introducing some fairly problematic laws at the request of the gaming industry. For instance, criminalizing cheating in online gaming is very much a thing in South Korea, though this is actually done by making it illegal to break a game's ToS, which nobody reads.What are things that are illegal in Korea? ›
- Tattooing. 문신 [moon-sin] Tattoos aren't completely illegal in Korea, but you may be banned from entering some 찜질방 [jjim-jil-bang] public bathhouse. ...
- Gambling. 도박 [do-bak] Gambling is basically illegal in Korea. ...
- Smoking in Public. ...
- Dog Meat. ...
- Pornography. ...
- Online Gaming. ...
- Street Vendors. ...
As of 2022, South Korea retains the death penalty under Article 41 of the Criminal Code but is classified as an "abolitionist in practice country," meaning that the death penalty has not actually been executed in the last ten years. The last execution of the death penalty took place in 1997.Does Korea have death penalty? ›
Korea is officially pro-capital punishment, but no one has actually been put to death for the last 25 years. A total of 59 inmates are on death row in Korea as of July 2022, but no executions have taken place since Dec. 30, 1997.What is punishable by death in South Korea? ›
Currently, the Penal Code of South Korea regulates executions as a form of punishment for some crimes according to the Criminal Law section 41. Those crimes include: Rebellion (Section 87), Conspiracy with foreign countries (Section 92), homicide (Section 250), robbery-homicide (Section 338), and other 12 sections.
Which country is best at poker? ›
1. United States of America – U.S.A is deservedly on the list as it is the most popular country for poker. Many of the top players in poker are from the states. The country has a massive total of 460 casinos worldwide, which covers a lot of people coming and playing poker each year.Which country gambles the most? ›
Countries That Gamble The Most.
|Rank||Country||Gaming Losses Per Adult|
Squid, also known as ojingŏ (Korean: 오징어), is a children's game in South Korea. The game is named as such because the shape of the game board drawn on the ground resembles that of a squid.Does Korea have Google Play cards? ›
Google Play Gift Card South Korea is the prepaid top up card for Google Play Balance. It can be redeemed to pay for thousands of books, songs, movies, apps, magazines and many more on Google Play store.Can you get Google Play cards in South Korea? ›
Purchasing the Google Play Card Korea
The Play Store Gift Card is arguably the easiest way for users to top up their Google Play account. These funds can be used for various purposes like purchasing your favourite games from the Play Store or even make in-game purchases to enhance your gaming experience.
Visa, MasterCard and Amex are the most widely accepted credit card types for cross-border ecommerce transactions. In addition to Visa and MasterCard, there are several other card brands operating in Korea – BC Card, Lotte Card, and T-Money.Is WhatsApp allowed in South Korea? ›
Short answer: Yes. WhatsApp is allowed in South Korea, and most of its population uses this app to communicate with friends and family and even with their colleagues. If you didn't know, South Korea is a nation with a high population dependent on technology, and WhatsApp is no different.What social media is allowed in South Korea? ›
South Korea has a very unique social media environment with homegrown domestic platforms such as KakaoTalk (a free mobile messaging app), Kakao Story (a social networking platform launched by Kakao), and Naver Band (a private group sharing app).How much money can I take out of Korea? ›
There are no restrictions on the import or export of local or foreign currency. However, amounts exceeding US$10,000 or equivalent must be declared.How much money can I take out of South Korea? ›
Foreign currency declaration upon departure. If Korean residents or non-residents carry means of payment (means of international payment, KRW notes, or cashier's checks) less than USD 10,000 out of Korea, no report is required.
How long can you game in South Korea? ›
The Youth Protection Revision Act, commonly known as the Shutdown Law or Cinderella Law, was an act of the South Korean National Assembly which forbade children under the age of sixteen to play online video games between the hours of 00:00 and 06:00.What is wealthy in South Korea? ›
According to a survey conducted among male and female adults in South Korea in 2021, the net wealth required to be considered wealthy was about 4.9 trillion South Korean won, a slight increase from the previous year. The threshold above which someone is considered wealthy has risen steadily in recent years.What is the biggest casino in Asia? ›
Experience your best moments at PARADISE CASINO. WALKERHILL Being Seoul's best foreigner exclusive casino that has the 50 years of history and tradition, it is located in Grand Walkerhill Seoul that offers beautiful Hangang River view. PARADISE CITY It is the largest foreigner exclusive casino in Korea.What does Korean say before eating? ›
What do Koreans say before eating? "잘 먹겠습니다!"(Jalmukesumneda) - which means, "I will eat well!" Get your fill of Korean food at the latest Korean grill in town, Soban K-Town Grill, at 2/F #EastwoodMall!What do Koreans say before drinking? ›
To use the “Korean cheers,” raise your glass in the air, say 건배 (geonbae), and clink your glass with your friend's glass. The word implies that you should then drink the whole of your drink, but this is not actually necessary. 건배 (geonbae) is usually said by itself rather than part of a phrase or sentence.Is toilet paper used in South Korea? ›
The people of this culture use water to clean themselves when necessary. China, Singapore, Thailand, Korea, and Taiwan: In most Asian countries, it is very difficult to find toilet paper, even in stores. Some hotels may have it available in the guestrooms.Which country is best for online gambling? ›
|Ranking||Country||Millions of Visits per Month|
You can sign up for an online casino over the internet from anywhere – you don't have to be in a state with legal wagering. Before you can place a bet, however, you'll need to be inside of a state that has legalized online casinos.Can South Koreans gamble in Vegas? ›
Koreans cannot gamble at casinos — with one exception I'll mention later. Do not underestimate this because this shapes the entire gambling culture here. South Korean citizens cannot even gamble at casinos even when traveling abroad.
Why is 7 used in slot machines? ›
Number 7 and online slots
Due to its associations with good luck and fortune, it's unsurprising that the number seven has infiltrated the world of online slots and casino slot machines.
Online gambling is legal in Japan, Philippines and Kazakhstan. Some countries like China, Thailand, Singapore, Macao partly allow gambling. In India, online gambling is strictly banned except for two states Sikkim and Goa. Some states of India have scratch card games alternative lotteries legalized though.Is Bitcoin legal in South Korea? ›
Cryptocurrencies are allowed for use but are not considered legal tender in South Korea.Are video games allowed in South Korea? ›
South Korea legally recognizes video games as form of culture and art.Can online poker sites detect VPN? ›
Can online poker sites detect VPNs? Yes, it's possible for poker sites to detect VPN usage. Just like Netflix and other online platforms, poker pages might see a surge of identical IP addresses, which happens when lots of people use the same VPN server to play at the same time.Can poker sites detect VPN? ›
Can PokerStars detect I am using a VPN? Yes, there's a slight chance that PokerStars will detect your VPN activity. In this case, your account might get frozen or banned.Does a VPN work for online poker? ›
To use a VPN to play poker, all you need to do is connect to a VPN server in the country where the poker site is based. The VPN will update your IP address, the poker site will assume that you're located in the same geographical location, and you'll be able to make an account and join games.Is there Bitcoin ATM in South Korea? ›
Total number of Bitcoin ATMs / Tellers in South Korea: 0.What is the best bitcoin wallet in Korea? ›
Korbit is the first and largest Bitcoin exchange in South Korea, based on trading volume. Deposits can be made via bank transfer only.What is not allowed in Korea? ›
Guns, narcotics, pornography, subversive material, treasonous material, and counterfeit goods are prohibited from entering Korea.
What are some taboos in South Korea? ›
- Do not wear your shoes in places of worship or peoples' homes.
- Do not put your feet on furniture.
- Do not eat or drink in public places while walking.
- Do not place your thumb between your middle and index finger while making a fist as this an obscene gesture.
- Do not use red ink.