Sports Betting in Korea

koreaIn South Korea there are multiple options for sports betting. Sports Toto (pari-mutuel betting) and Sports Proto (fixed-odds) are our two domestic companies offering betting on soccer, basketball, baseball, volleyball and golf.

The other option is online betting which is possible to do using websites that are legal and licensed in foreign countries. As these internet sites offer better odds and more markets, I will start this article by discussing how Koreans can use them before covering how Toto and Proto both work.

Asian Bookies or European Bookies

There are two different options to bet on the internet. The first is Asian bookies which support Korean language, offer accounts in South Korean won (KRW) and accept local bank transfer with no fee. is the easiest Asian company to deposit with. You can register an account, click live chat and ask the operator for their bank details. Then simply transfer the money via online transfer.

If you only bet soccer (football) Asian bookies are a great option. You will find all the Korean leagues, plus English Premier League (EPL), La Liga, Serie A, Bundesliga, and all others. You’ll find tennis and American sports such as NBA basketball and MLB baseball are covered too. If you are however interested in betting other Korean sports such as basketball, baseball and volleyball you will probably be disappointed by the fact these are not well covered (if covered at all) by the major Asian bookies.

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1XBet One of the Top Choices

1Xbet is more difficult to deposit with, but their website truly has it all for both Korean and international sports. They offer pre-match, as well as live in-play betting on every match of KBL and WKBL basketball, and both men’s and women’s KOVO volleyball. As with Asian bookies they also have in-play betting on many K-League, Korean Cup, League Cup and National League soccer matches. The wagering options are also massive including match winner, home-draw-away, total goals, first to score, correct score and many different types of proposition bets.

Another major draw to 1Xbet is anyone logged in with a funded account can watch live streams of sports matches from around the world. Any match 1Xbet streams live also has the option for live in-play betting. For any other game in any sport anywhere in the world, that is shown on TV or streamed elsewhere, you will at least find pre-match betting on it here. 1XBet offers betting on more sports and leagues than any other website.

The small downside is you will need to use their website in Euro and set up an e-wallet such as Skrill for deposits and withdrawals. If you are in a hurry to bet sports online use one of the Asian bookies I mentioned. If you want the most wagering options and best experience read the next section, where I cover how to use Skrill.

Skrill Moneybookers for South Korea

skrill logoSkrill is an online bank account that is extremely popular for making deposits and withdrawals to online gambling sites in Korea. If you are serious about using euro gambling sites open an account at in euro (NOT South Korean won) currency. Although Skrill supports won currency, deposits are converted from won to euro when depositing and from euro back to won when withdrawing. All these conversions will involve a lot of currency exchange fees, which means you will be losing money each time you deposit and withdraw money. The easiest way is to deposit and withdraw in Euros and then withdraw these to your bank account or at an ATM machine. By doing this you will only have to pay exchange fees once, rather than several times. Trust me on this tip and understand, once you select your currency you cannot change it unless you use Skrill enough to become a VIP.

Upon joining Skrill immediately begin the process of verifying your account as this takes a while. One step is confirming your address. When you request this verification they will send a letter to your home with a code on it that you will need to enter online when it arrives. The second stage in the verification process is bank verification. This can be done at the same time you fund your account, by funding it with a bank wire.

In short how Skrill works is this: you load money to it from you Korean bank account making a wire transfer at the bank branch or using online banking. Once the money is in your Skrill account you can use it to deposit at gambling sites you have joined with euro as the currency. At these sites, you can then withdraw all or part of your betting account balance to Skrill at any time. With the money sent back from these sites, you can store it on Skrill for future use, can use it to deposit at other gambling sites, or you can make a transfer from Skrill to your Korean bank account. As you can see it functions similar to an online bank account – but transfers to and from gambling sites can be done online quickly.

Important Note: Before depositing with 1Xbet double check that your account is in Euro currency. It rarely happens, but they might set you up in won or more commonly in USD. If this happens before depositing contact live chat and have them change your currency to euro. Once this is complete make your first deposit.

Now that you understand online betting I will explain our two forms of domestic betting – Sports Toto and Sports Proto. From here you can see how these options compare to the online betting companies recommended above.

Korean Sports Toto and Sports Proto

In the Republic of Korea we have two different sports betting products. The first is Sports Toto which is pari-mutuel betting and the second is Sports Proto which is fixed odds sports betting. Both are available at terminals nationwide and in many locations where lottery tickets are sold. To conclude this article I will explain details of how each works and compare it to online betting.

Sports Toto Games

korean sportstoto logoSports Toto offers many different games and these differ by sport. The part that remains the same for each is that 50% of sales go into a betting pool that is split with all winners. This is proportional to stake and to be a winner you must get 100% of your predictions correct. An explanation of each game is covered below.

Soccer Toto offers three different types of games. The main game involves predicting if the home team’s result will be win, draw or loss in 14 different matches. This is essentially a lottery and is very popular here. Despite what other online betting portals might tell you, on average Soccer Toto Win/Draw/Loss Game has better odds than betting 14-fold accumulators online. Online betting sites charge a lot of juice so when betting 14-folds their take often exceeds 50%.

However, if you usually pick favorites, betting online will be be much better as you will get much better odds. This is because when all the favorites win, alot of other people will be betting on them too so your share will be less. When using an online site, you don’t win money from a pool, but at the fixed odds specified by the site. Furthermore, 14-fold bets or accumulators (known as parlay bets in the USA) are known to be sucker bets, as this is where the bookies make a lot of their profits.

The second game of Soccer Toto is predicting the first half and second half correct score in a single match. This is not offered online – and unless you are predicting scores that are not at all expected (such as a big underdog winning 3-0) this offers very little value to the punter. The third Soccer Toto game is predicting the correct score in 2 or 3 matches. Generally internet bookies offer far superior odds for this, usually having way better payouts than the soccer Toto provides.

Basketball Toto offers unique games that are not found with regular online betting companies. The main game deciding in 14 matches whether home team wins by 6 or more, away team wins by 6 or more or neither team wins by six or more. The other two games are picking the correct score in 2 or 3 matches, or predicting the first half and final half score in a single match. As far as sports lottery is concerned neither is that poor of an option.

Baseball Toto is also unlike regular wagers online. The main game is predicting the number of home runs and the number of runs scored separately for each team in 4 games. There’s also a game where you can try to predict the correct score in 2 or 3 matches. Another game lists all teams playing that day and you choose which three will have the highest scores. Finally there is single match toto which is predicting the match’s final score and number of home runs for each team. Considering online baseball betting has the lowest margins of all sports, the odds for baseball toto in Korea are extremely poor compared to those available with foreign bookies.

Volleyball Toto is my personal favorite. This matches two teams together and you select 1) the correct set score and 2) the winning margin of the first set (2, 3, 4, 5, 6 or 7+). When this was a new game (2008-2010) if you boxed all possible set scores with all first set winning margins of 2 and 7+ you would have made an ROI of 75%. (This was amazing and sharp bettors made a lot on this). This is gone as the market has matured, but there are still inefficiencies. For casual bettors, what is offered online at 1Xbet for volleyball provides much more value – still there is room for pros to exploit market inefficiencies with this toto game.

Golf Toto -There are several games in Golf Toto, one of my favorites pairs one player against eleven others. You select if he will win-draw-or lose against each player. A trick to finding +EV wagers is to pick him to beat 10 players and to lose to an eleventh who is a contender but not expected to win. This is essentially predicting first and second, and for the first choosing one of the lesser popular players with a chance. For casual bettors again online offers better odds. There is however two more golf toto games that are decent as far as lottery is concerned. These are 1) Special Game – predict 5 or 7 player’s 1st round score and 2) Win/Draw/Loss Game – Predict 5 matches’(10 player) Win-Draw-Lose.

What I covered here are the main games of Sports Toto. We also have a special issue game used to raise money for 2014 Incheon Asian Games, F1 Korean Grand Prix and other events. For this online betting odds are far better.

So overall, while the Sports Toto offers a decent selection of sports and betting types, the odds of offer and the markets available to bet on are far worse than those found at Asian bookies and other foreign betting sites. It is far more advantageous to use betting sites outside of Korea as you will stand to earn far more money, thanks to a larger amount of betting options and hugely increased odds.

Sports Proto

korean sports proto logoSports Proto is fixed odds betting. The odds are quoted in decimal format and represent how many times the stakes will be returned on a win. For example a bet of ₩100,000 on 1.75 returns ₩175,000 of which ₩75,000 is the profit.

This form of betting has very poor odds when compared to online betting sites outside of Korea. To give you some examples I will show the odds only on randomly selected English Premier League soccer match.

Site Home Win Odds Draw Away Win Odds Payout %
SportsProto West Ham 3.20 3.05 Tottenham 1.87 85.1%
188bet West Ham 3.30 3.35 Tottenham 2.25 95.6%
1Xbet West Ham 3.60 3.40 Tottenham 2.20 97.4%

The above is a completely randomly selected example. It doesn’t matter if we’re betting Spanish, English, Italian or Korean soccer – or AFC, Euro or World Cup – the online betting sites always offer bigger payouts on all betting options. The reason why is indicated in brackets. In the above example Proto had a theoretical profit margin of 14.9% on all bets they take (this is if action is balanced) paying out just 85.1%. You can see the web-based bookmakers keep a tiny percentage. 1Xbet for example was paying out 97.4%, meaning the expect to make just 2.6% on all bets on that particular match.

This illustration holds true for NBA and Korean basketball, volleyball, baseball and all other sports that Sports Proto covers. If you’re looking for the best value betting with on line bookmakers is without a shadow of a doubt the way to go.