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한국에서의 도박 - Gambling in South Korea

For many years, gambling in the country was restricted to placing wagers on horse, boat and bicycle races, as well as playing the lottery. SportsToto was introduced in 1997. In 2000 when casinos were legalized, but most cater only to foreigners and only one is open to the local population. Slot machines are only allowed at casinos and therefore also restricted for South Koreans.

Citizens of South Korea are not permitted to gamble inside a casino both within the country as well as when traveling outside the country. This latter activity is of course very difficult to verify, but nevertheless severely punishable under ‘Habitual Foreign Gambler’ law with a minimum 3 year prison term and up to a USD 25,000 fine.

South Korean citizens are permitted to gamble among friends and family for very small sums (under 10 cents). The country has two lotteries: lotto and toto which is a form of sports betting. Betting on games of skill is considered identical to games of luck and is not permitted except for foreigners inside licensed casinos.

Online Gambling in South Korea

South Korea has no laws which address players’ online gambling, though several regulations have been passed aimed at curbing excessive social and video gaming. At this point nobody may legitimately operate online casinos within the country. Illegal online casinos operated by organized crime groups exist within the country and when discovered by law enforcement are immediately raided and shut down. Just as quickly new sites open.

A significant percentage of South Korean citizens gamble at either local or foreign online casinos. The South Korean government is very sensitive about money flowing outside of the country. The government announced plans to begin a serious crackdown targeting foreign sites, especially sportsbooks, in April 2013. Although the gambling websites are likely to be pressured, the South Korean citizens who use them have never been taken to court.