How the Korean Government Regulate Betting?


South Korea is considered as one of the countries in Asia that are starting to gain prevalence over the past decades, especially among people ages 18 to 35 or the so-called “Millennials” or the younger generation. Big thanks to the growing demand of Korean popular culture, the country has become an attracting and fascinating country for a lot of foreigners and tourists.

Believe it or not, one of the great attractions, South Korea wants to focus on is its putting industry. Betting for property or money is not allowed in the country, according to Chapter 23 of the South Korean Criminal Act. Some amendments are being made or are already made to their gambling laws to assist the legalization of some betting activities in South Korea.

To find out more about the Criminal Act of the country, check out for more information.

On the other hand, in North Korea, local citizens are also not allowed to bet or gamble despite the fact that they are very lenient when it comes to money-generating schemes to help the regime. In both countries, only tourists, foreigners or ex-pats are allowed to bet or gamble, but with strict regulation.

What are the gambling regulations in South Korea?

According to the Criminal Act, Article 246, any person that is caught engaging in forms of gambling activities for the sole purpose of earning money is prohibited by the law with a fine not exceeding four to five million Korean Won. Betting activities for property or monetary pleasure is not allowed by the government.

People who are known to be frequent bettors can receive time in prison of three years at most or they are required to pay a fine of 20 million Korean Won. These gambling regulations and rules are applicable to all locals,despite of where in the country they play.

The betting law applies even if the activity is done outside South Korea’s borders and they are religiously implemented despite the citizen’s vocal dismay. Locals face prison time and fines even if they engage in betting activities in Las Vegas or Macau. To date, it is still illegal to bet on horse or bicycle racing and to bet on sports competitions like basketball, volleyball, football, baseball, golf, and even Ssirum (a folk wrestling style and the traditional national sport of Korea).

Locals can try their luck in some lottery games. A lot of South Koreans don’t have access to poker rooms and casinos despite the fact that the country has some good-quality gambling establishments and brick and mortar to high-end casinos.

The country has at least 30 known land-based betting establishments and at least three to four horse racing tracks. Most of these casinos are only for the enjoyment and pleasure of tourists, foreigners or ex-pats living or visiting South Korea. Locals have limited to almost no access to sports putting, but their odds are not similar to the benefits they can get if they engage in online gambling. Because of this reason, betting in online gambling websites is very popular among many South Koreans.

How the government regulates the gambling industry?

Local gamblers don’t have a lot of gambling and betting activities that they can engage in. Most of the establishments are limited to what the government approves. These legal putting establishments are operated by different government agencies or being monitored closely by them.

While it is very challenging to monitor online casinos or putting websites, government officials are working very hard to ensure that foreign gambling websites will undergo a very meticulous process of scrutiny. Even banking institutions can block any transactions that are related to digital gambling. Locals can place their money on bicycle racing, lotteries, horse racing, 먹튀검증 betting (or black ink betting) or toto sports gambling.

While the whole country has a lot of land-based gambling establishments, South Koreans are only allowed to enter one establishment and they need to be 18 years old and above to bet legally. The government places a stiff withholding tax of at least 22% to 30% on every win from the lottery. Other wins from other forms of gambling are non-taxable. On the other hand, the Korean government, will collect taxes from the operators.

What are the forms of gambling that are considered legal in South Korea?

Horse racing – Betting on races like bicycle, dog or horse racing is considered as the longest form of legal punting in the country. These races are monitored and administered by KRA; the citizens can place a wager in these races through a pari-mutuel betting. The highest allowed bet is only 100,000 Won and only 16% of the pot money will go to the winner. The odds are not that good compared to most international horse races.

Lottery – There are various types of lotteries in South Korea. The first legal one is the House Lotto that was introduced in 1969 and operated for 20 years. In 1990 the Korean Lottery Scratch Card was introduced to the public.

During the start of the 20th century, the popularity of 6/45 lotto draw started to increase. The 6/45 lottery is a lottery on the Internet that uses 45 balls. Of the 45 balls, they will draw seven numbers; the bettors are allowed to choose six numbers out of the seven to win the jackpot prize. Click here it you want to know more about the history of lottery.

The seventh ball is considered as an extra ball. The lotto is drawn once every week, usually every Saturday night. One ticket will cost you 1,000 Won. The government imposes a tax on the winning ticket, 22% for prize money up to 50 million, and 33% for more than 50 million.

Another form of lotto that’s becoming very popular is the Pension 520 or the Bok-Know. It was introduced in July 2011. It uses printed lottery tickets and drawn during Wednesdays. The Bok-Kwon has fixed odds and the government imposes a 22% tax regardless of the amount of the main prize.

Bicycle racing – Legalizing bicycle racing got its inspiration from the legal putting system of Japan. But unlike Japan, South Korea can’t do an off-track putting. This type of racing became legal to promote national sports, especially among younger people.

Expats, foreigners and tourists don’t like betting on these kinds of races despite having excellent odds of winning compared to horse racing. It is probably because programs, betting slips and websites are only available in one language, Korean.