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Korean Casinos and Playing Online

In South Korea we have legal wagering on horse races, bicycle racing and boat racing at the tracks. We also have two sports betting companies offering gambling on soccer, basketball, baseball, volleyball and golf. Lotto 6/45 and 520 Pension Lottery (Bok-Kwon) are massive government endorsed lotteries. Surprisingly, despite all this legal gambling, our nation’s casino policy remains primitive.

While there are 17 casinos in South Korea, sixteen fall under the Tourism Promotion Act. These require a passport to enter and Koreans, Vietnamese and Nepalese are prohibited. The one casino Koreans can use falls under the Special Act on the Assistance to the Development of Abandoned Mine Areas. This is Kangwon Land Casino. It is located in our most northeast province Gangwon in Jeongseongun County.

The area surrounding Kangwon Casino has been built into a major tourist attraction called High1 Resort. It offers 960 slot machine games and 132 table games including blackjack, baccarat, roulette, big wheel, tai-sai (sic bo), Caribbean stud poker and casino war. Skiing, golf, restaurants, and hotels are located here too. Each day more than 10,000 Koreans visit the casino, most waiting hours for a table to open up.

Online Casinos

Online casinos are much different than land based ones, because here there are many options available to Koreans. The ones most popular with us locals are internet casinos that are legal and licensed in the Philippines. This is because the majority of Filipino betting sites also support Korean language, Korean won (KRW) currency and offer local bank transfer for deposits and payouts. The casinos listed below are the ones that come most recommended.

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The casinos just listed are easy to get started with. Bet365 is as simple as registering a free account, visiting the cashier and clicking the credit card or ewallet deposit option. Right from the cashier you can find details for funding your Bet365 account. At Dafa888 the process is similar but you need to log-in and contact live chat to ask for their Korean bank details as they accept bank transfers.

Understand these websites are owned by major companies and are heavily regulated. Dafa888 has a sister brand Dafabet which is the official betting and gaming partner of both West Brom and Evertom FC English Premier League (EPL).

Likewise Bet365 is the world’s largest online betting site and has been in business since 2000. For EPL fans you will know them as being the shirt sponsors of Stoke City, a football club owned by the owners of Bet365.

These casinos are both very safe to use and have trusted regulators that audit company financial reports, as well as their software to ensure that each is solvent and operating fair casino games.

To use these Korean casinos, start by making the bank transfer deposit in Korean won (KRW). You can then play their casino games, bet sports, or play poker for real money. Hopefully you will have some luck at the tables and manage to turn a profit. If it does you can cash out all or some of your balance back to you Korean bank account at any time. This takes only a couple days to process.

Which KRW Online Casino is Best?

Deciding which Korean friendly internet casino to use is a matter of personal preference. While there are many similarities, each uses different software and has at least few games the other does not. For example, I’m a huge fan of commission free baccarat at Bet365. I also love Dafa888 for their movie themed slots such as X-Men, Iron Man 2 and The Incredible Hulk. The reason I use both is because each has different bonuses and promotions and this allows me to double dip. Extra won currency in bonuses and promos is a great way to increase chances of scoring a big win.

As for features that are the same, both support the most popular games and both have live dealer games for blackjack, baccarat, roulette and tai-sai (which they both call sic-bo). These games are broadcast from an actual casino studio with real tables and human dealers. Take for example blackjack: here you will see the dealer in front of the webcam and table asking you directly if you want to hit, stand, split or double down. These games take place live in real time while you make your bets online and watch it all play out from a web-cam feed.

Are Online Casinos Legal?

Technically speaking, all gambling that is not for momentary pleasure is illegal under Chapter 23 of our Criminal Act. This said, in all my years in the Asian casino industry, I have never once heard of a Korean being arrested or fined for using casinos that are legal in foreign countries, when doing so from the privacy of their own home. It seems all our government does to discourage online casino use is redirect a limited number of gambling sites to www.warning.or.kr. This is the same redirect they use for porn sites which are illegal here too, but no one ever gets in trouble for using them.

Now all this said, if you do gamble online, it does make sense to keep a low profile. The penalty for a minor violation of Article 246 is a petty fine. Being found guilty of habitual or professional gambling is a much more serious crime that can involve prison time. You might recall that Shin Jung-hwan (former singer of Rula) had two gambling priors and then in 2011 was sentenced to 8 months in prison for his third offense.

Again, there is a huge difference between using online casinos and committing the crime he did which was “habitual gambling”. By using casinos based overseas the risks are almost zero, so you can do so without worrying about any possible legal repercussions.

So with all the said, if you do get started, we wish you the best of luck at the tables!