South Korea is an extraordinarily interesting country. It’s not as popular of a tourist destination as some other countries in East Asia are, however, it sure has a lot to offer. South Korea is known for their pop music (K-pop), consumer electronics and extreme popularity of PC gaming, but some people go into the country because of what it has to offer in terms of gambling and casinos.
The topic of gambling in South Korea is very controversial and intriguing, so let’s dive into it and see how you can enjoy a good casino game in “The land of the morning calm”.
Korean citizens & gambling
People from South Korea are no strangers to gambling. However, the local laws and regulations make it extremely difficult for them to actually do it. Local regulations regarding gambling are extremely strict and go out of their way to stop Koreans from gambling.
In fact, there is only one brick-and-mortar casino that Korean citizens are allowed to gamble in. Kangwon Land, a sizable hotel and casino complex located in Korean mountains, is the single land-based casino in which people from South Korea can enjoy a game of roulette, blackjack, slot machines or any other casino games the casino operates.
There are some forms of gambling open for Korean players that can be operated outside of this casino, but those are limited to lottery, horse racing, powerboat racing and cycle racing.
However, that’s not all. Korean gambling regulations go much further. In fact, Korean citizens are not legally allowed to gamble even outside of the country. That means that a Korean citizen visiting Las Vegas isn’t legally allowed to gamble, not even in the “Sin city”. One has to wonder whether the Korean government would ever find out if it happened, but the law is clear in this matter.
And let’s not forget about online gambling, which is also illegal in South Korea. It’s illegal to operate any sort of online gambling business from the country, although that doesn’t mean there aren’t any illegal sites catering to Korean fans of casino games. However, such sites are often targeted by law enforcement and shut down by raids.
Korean citizens might look for a solution in the form of casinos operating from outside of the country and the local jurisdiction. These offshore casinos are a much better solution that local illegal sites, especially if they operate from a jurisdiction with good gambling regulation, which is one of the most important factors when choosing a casino.
People from Korea still face issues when gambling in offshore casinos. They might be unable to access their sites because of blocking and they might get into trouble if they are caught gambling, but risks are much lower than when using illegal local sites to play games for money.
Gambling for tourists in South Korea
While the local regulations are extremely strict for local people, tourists and people from different countries that are just visiting South Korea can gamble without any issues. There are numerous brick-and-mortar casinos in which tourists can play, which makes the concept of gambling tourism in South Korea completely feasible.
However, these casinos (apart from the aforementioned Kangwon Land) cater exclusively to foreigners, so you will not meet any local people there, maybe apart from the casino staff. If you’d like to enjoy a full-blown Korean gambling experience with the local people, you will have to travel all the way to Kangwon Land.
The casino is usually crowded, which makes sense, as Korean people can’t gamble anywhere else, but that only adds to the experience. What’s more, the mountainous region in which the complex is located will make your stay more enjoyable and give you something to look at apart from roulette tables and slot machines in the casino.