As in most countries in the world, gambling laws in South Korea are all over the place. They are needlessly complicated, and in many cases – make no sense. But, laws are laws, and they must be respected.
Casino gambling is mostly illegal in the country. The country doesn’t make a distinction between casino types, meaning online casinos are prohibited by law as well.
There is only one legal land casino for South Koreans, the Kangwon Land Casino & Hotel. This resort is situated about 130 km away from Pyeongchang.
However, in an effort to promote tourism, the country has legalized many land casinos for tourists alone. Sounds a bit crazy, but it’s actually true.
There are over 23 physical casinos across South Korean soil, and only foreigners are allowed in them. Citizens of the country are ID-TRUE and denied entry at the gate.
This means that the Kangwon is the only place where South Koreans can legally gamble on casino games. Online casinos are, of course, illegal.
There have been numerous attempts for South Korean organizations to offer online gambling services to players, and even some out of North Korea as well, but they are all quickly shut down by the government.
According to the country’s law, any individual caught in illegal gambling activity can be fined up to $4,400 (up to 5 million RKW), and face up to 3 years in prison.
In practice, however, this rule is rarely enforced. Individuals caught gambling might get a slap on the wrist in the form of a minor fine and potentially customer service. The government is much interested in going after those who offer gambling services.
As such, South Korea actively aims to IP block gambling sites or throttle connection speeds with these websites to prevent online gambling.
However, many players are still able to make deposits at foreign online casinos, either regularly or through VPN software.
Sports betting, unlike casino gambling, is mostly legal in South Korea. The Sports Toto and Sports Proto organization allow legal bets to be placed on games such as:
- Soccer Toto
- Basketball Toto
- Baseball Toto
- Volleyball Toto
- Golf Toto
These are all offline betting options, and online sports bettors have to take their cash to off-shore licensed websites.