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The laws around online gambling in South Korea are complex. While there are South Korea online casinos, they’re based overseas. That’s because Koreans are forbidden from gambling. On this page, we look at how Korean online casinos deal with the legalities of online gambling and where you can find the best casinos that accept Korean players.
Gambling in South Korea is a complex topic. While the legalities are pretty clear and straightforward, the reality is that the market is a mixed bag. That said, online casinos accepting players from South Korea are growing as the demand increases, despite online activities being illegal in the country.
On this page, we’ve set out to tell you everything you need to know about online gambling in South Korea, including the legal side of things and how to find acceptable, above-board casinos to play at. The casinos recommended on our top list are all available to players from South Korea. We’ve conducted thorough casino reviews of each site to ensure you only play at the safest casinos around.
South Korean Legalities
The short answer is no, but it’s a little more complicated than that. Historically, the Korean Peninsula has enjoyed placing wagers on sports and board games like janggi and ssireum. But with the formation of the Republic of Korea at the end of World War II came strict gambling legislation and citizens were no longer allowed to bet within Korean borders, or even at casinos based in other countries.
While these physical laws have slowly relaxed over time, the same is not so for online gambling. To date, it is completely illegal for an individual or company to run South Korea online casinos, but it’s still okay to gamble at online platforms based overseas.
Despite the restrictions on Korean sites, you can still sign up at websites that fall outside the jurisdiction of South Korean law and accept players from the country.
Still, there are companies within the country that opt to set up illegal South Korea online casinos and sportsbooks with the illegal gambling market estimated to be worth something like US$ 66 billion. The South Korean police have made several high-profile raids in the last few years to try and reign in illegal online betting rings.
One exception to South Korea’s strict legislation we must point out is the ability to bet on horseracing, cycling, boat racing and the national lottery.
Up until 1967, casinos in the country were completely illegal, other than at large hotels that could offer gambling to foreigners. Today, there are less than 20 land-based gambling establishments dotted around the country and featuring games like blackjack, roulette and slots. Citizens of South Korea are not allowed to enter this casino, and the first land-based casino (Kangwon Land Casino) allowed to accept citizens was only opened in 2000.
During the 1990s, the country’s gambling laws were relaxed slightly as the government-backed betting service, SportsToto was created. The service allows citizens to bet on a range of sports, including golf, basketball, football and baseball and land-based sportsbooks. But wagers are limited to KRW 100,000 and there are no local online sportsbooks, which means punters turn to offshore bookmakers for higher betting limits, the convenience of online gambling and more markets to bet on.
South Korean players who win at online gambling do face taxation. If you win on the local lottery, you must pay a tax of anything between 22% and 30% on your winnings. On the bright side, since Koreans turn to offshore casinos, there are no taxes on other games and casino winnings.
Licence And Jurisdiction in South Korea
As you can see, the laws around South Korea online casinos and gambling are very strict. Under the Game Industry Promotion Act, operators are forbidden from offering online casino games in the country, with gamblers heading to international platforms to get their gambling fix.
Fortunately, South Korean authorities don’t have jurisdiction over offshore casinos, which means you don’t face the risk of prosecution. What’s more, many of the casinos we recommend offer several opportunities for South Korean players in the form of bonuses and promotions.
Take a look at our list of top South Korea online casinos and you will note they are licensed by some of the best authorities in the world, including:
These renowned regulatory bodies ensure that the sites practice provably fair, transparent and safe online gambling for players, giving you peace of mind that you can safely explore international casinos that cater to South Korean players.
Korean Bonuses And Promotions
|Type of Bonus||Description|
|No Deposit Bonus||Players can claim this bonus just for registering at a casino and without having to make a deposit. These offers usually come with high wagering requirements and limitations.|
|Free Spins||These are either awarded as part of a welcome package or a special promotion and given in bundles to play on certain slots. Winnings from your free spins are converted to bonus funds that you’ll need to play through later on.|
|Welcome Bonus||This offer is for new players who make their first deposits.|
|Cashback and Reload Bonuses||These bonuses give you a percentage of bonus funds and are usually part of a promotion.|
|VIP Bonus||Loyal casino players can earn a host of bonuses through VIP programmes. VIPs often have access to exclusive offers, tournaments and birthday bonuses.|
All the best international South Korea online casinos offer juicy bonuses and promotions to stretch your budget, extend your gameplay and (hopefully) give you more chances of scoring a win. But, never forget to read every offer’s wagering requirements and terms and conditions before claiming one.
The leading offshore South Korea online casinos accept numerous payment methods from Korean players, but only a few of these options allow for deposits and withdrawals in Korean WON. That’s a big plus for natives, though, as you won’t need to worry about conversion fees. We do recommend checking with a casino before you sign up to make sure your preferred deposit and withdrawal options are available.
South Korea’s online gambling industry is under strict government control, which many believe is a way of deterring problem gambling. Get caught engaging in illegal gambling at online casinos within the borders and you could face immediate arrest.
That said, offshore South Korea online casinos take responsible gambling seriously, offering players several ways to keep their habits in check, such as Reality Checks, self-assessment quizzes, deposit and time limits and the option to self-exclude from the casino. They also offer links to organisations that help problem gamblers, including:
For now, it looks like the South Korean government is keen on maintaining its monopoly on gambling and sports betting. But despite the upsurge in criminal captures and convictions, both land-based and online illegal gambling is thriving. With the gradual relaxation of physical gambling laws, we hope to see the government looking to see if the integration of online casinos could also be beneficial to the SportsToto franchise.
We know it’s important to enjoy a safe and legal gambling experience. That’s why the South Korea online casinos that we recommend are ones that are based overseas and hold reputable licences.
The casinos that we review and recommend are vetted for trusted licensing and provably fair gambling. These are operators who respect the security and fair play regulations and are sometimes even available in Korea. Operators know that South Korea is strict about online gambling, which is why they go above and beyond to accommodate players from the country.
These are sites that offer lucrative bonuses to new and existing players with realistic and fair terms and conditions, decent minimum deposit and withdrawal limits and a site that’s easy to navigate and filter through the games – often with the option to play on the go on your mobile device.
These platforms also place great emphasis on customer support, offering live chat, often around the clock, along with several other ways to get in touch with someone when you have questions or need help.
Of course, we’ve signed up at the casinos on this page, claimed the offers, played the games and checked out the banking, all to bring you in-depth and unbiased reviews of the very best South Korea online casinos for your money and time. All you need to do is pick one, register and start playing your favourite games securely.
South Korean casinos are prohibited, which is why players turn to licenced offshore casinos for secure gambling.
There are a few offshore South Korea casinos that accept Won, but mostly you will need to convert your deposits into Euro, USD or GBP and incur the relevant currency conversion fees.
There are plenty of international casinos that accept players from Korea. Take a look at our top list and choose a site that has the payment methods, games and bonuses that appeal to you.
Yes, all the top overseas casinos are optimised for mobile gambling, be it via an app or through your device’s browser.
Yes, the best South Korea online casinos offshore offer Live Casino games with real dealers and real-time action, bringing you live entertainment.
Credit and debit cards are easy, but cryptocurrencies provide anonymity when playing at online casinos from South Korea.
It depends on your withdrawal method. Most casinos won’t charge a withdrawal fee, but your payment provider might charge a small fee.
Online casinos winnings are not taxes. However, you will have to pay taxes if you win the local lottery.