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More information about North Korea – Online Casinos & Gambling Regulations

Table of Contents

Find the Best Korean Casino Online

The online casino giant Paddy Power did have a brief cameo in the planned meetups of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and former basketball player Dennis Rodman back in 2014. The bizarre media event was hoped to make some diplomatic ground by at least opening the door, but since not much progress has been made and North Korea remains a heavily sanctioned country by most of the world. The sanctions combined with a highly monitored and restricted internet platform and an incredibly harsh penal system mean it actually highly inadvisable to even attempt to access an online casino while living in the country. In many cases, residents of a restricted country can still access online casinos without impunity and we, therefore, have some recommendations for staying safe, as listed below, although even attempting to search for casinos can have serious implications in North Korea.

  • Is the casino licensed?
  • How reputable is the licensing body?
  • What do review sites say about the casino?
  • Does the site allow you to deposit with your preferred payment methods?
  • Will you be able to take part in any promotional campaigns?

While we can’t in good conscience recommend people to visit North Korea for its gambling or attempt to access any prohibited sites while there, we can recommend that you keep it locked in here at GoodLuckMate for useful casino reviews and up to date industry coverage.

Gambling Regulation 

Gambling in North Korea is highly restricted. There are only two gambling establishments in the country, which are reserved for Chinese tourists. Locals are prohibited from participating in any form of gambling right up until 2017. In a government bid to source additional funds from the country after another round of heavy international sanctions, horse race betting became a legal activity for locals aged 12 or older. This usually tiny step for most countries was actually a massive one for North Korea, as previously those caught gambling could face a punishment of up to three years of hard labor. Since then not much has been heard about North Korea’s stance on gambling, which is only compounded by the country’s isolationist stance towards the rest of the world. 

There have been rumors about the country looking to attract more business and tourism from China via gambling and other industries, although there has been little substance coming from these rumors. The main problem is simply that very little information comes out of the country, making it hard to determine from the outside as to the exact laws or planned changes being made.

Localized Online Casinos

Usually, when a country is similarly restrictive in its stance on online gambling, we can generally recommend some workarounds based on more liberal and culturally similar markets. Therefore, South Korea might sound like a good alternative for finding a place to gamble at. South Korea’s gambling laws are pretty much just as strict, minus the extreme punishments. All forms of online gambling are illegal and land-based establishments are highly limited. It has been reported that South Korean nationals have even been prosecuted for playing while abroad. You should therefore not expect to find any good localization options at online casinos for the Korean peninsula as a whole. 

Gambling with Korean People’s Won

The heavy sanctions on the country of North Korea, as well as its isolationist attitude, means that it is simply not viable for organizations to perform any kind of adoption of the country’s currency. The Korean People’s won (KPW) is a currency you would be hard-pressed to find any major organization supporting. It’s not only a matter of the choice of businesses but usually also an adherence to trade embargos imposed by the country they are operating in. As such, it would be better to look for alternatives like the commonly supported US dollar or even cryptocurrencies, which are becoming increasingly popular with players.

Casinos in North Korea

Residents of North Korea, unfortunately, inhabit what is often described as one of the most repressed countries on earth. This essentially means that the vast majority of the population do not have the luxury of even considering playing gambling online or offline. This is to the extent where a tablet was introduced to the nation’s people in 2014, named the Ullim. This device was found to be full of invasive software and hardware that monitors the user and can even save browser history and take screen-shots of opened apps by itself. This by itself should be enough to dissuade most from even contemplating accessing sites that are not government approved.

The two land-based casinos that do operate in the country are strictly reserved for tourists, primarily Chinese visitors, while nationals are prohibited from playing. The Imperial Hotel & Casino in Rason and the Pyongyang Casino are both squarely aimed at generating tourism revenues for the country and not for the entertainment of the locals. This has remained the status quo for quite a while and even though reports keep coming regarding the North Korean government’s enthusiasm to expand its economy through casinos, little evidence has been revealed towards any of this also being applicable for nationals.

  • A gambling license is intended to protect players, and one of its main functions is to provide a mechanism for resolving disputes when they come up. If you have a dispute with a casino, and the casino is being unreasonable, the gambling authority will help you. For many licenses, this means you can contact the gambling authority to get help processing your withdrawals, claiming money the casino has debited from your account, or resolving other disputes that might arise. The likelihood that the gambling authority will help you in ways that are effective, however, depends on the procedures they have in place for this. This is yet another reason why choosing to play at a casino that has a safe license is important.

    Getting help directly from the gambling authority is not always necessary, or even an option. A lot of regulators have now enforced third-party dispute resolution. This means casinos must have an agreement with an arbitrator who will look into disputes on the behalf of players from a particular casino. This ensures your dispute will be reviewed by an objective third party. All trusted online casinos have information about arbitration on their websites if they use this option, or they’ll have the contact information for the gambling authority you should consult. However, you should always try to resolve your issues with the casino first, and a lot of casinos have separate email addresses specifically for handling complaints.

  • If you’re worried about the security of the transactions you’re making at a casino, you should look for a logo with the acronym PCI DSS. This stands for Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, and this is something the payment industry has created. If you see this logo, it means the casino can be trusted for safe money transactions since they follow all of the rules set by the payment industry. Information about this can also be found in an FAQ section on the casino’s website.

    Another thing to look out for in terms of payments is where your money is kept while you play. Some gambling authorities, all of the best ones actually, regulate what the casino can do with your money while they are holding it. Your money shouldn’t go into a general bank account held by the casino; it should go into an account that is strictly for holding player funds. This means that as long as you have the money in your player account, it can’t be spent by the casino. Your deposit will be kept separate from the operating funds of the casino until your player account is empty, which will happen if you make a funds withdrawal or if you lose the money while playing.

  • The best known system tool for ensuring that a casino offers fair games is eCogra; however, there are other providers that also offer these kinds of systems. You want to make sure that the casino is using a certified third-party control system to ensure that the games of chance you’re playing are actually based on chance and not on other types of metrics. Rigged games are ones that have been set up to pay out less than they claim to or ones that give some players a greater chance of winning than others.

    The eCogra logo can often be found in the footer of the casino’s website, but not all casinos choose to display it. If you can’t see this logo, go to the FAQs and see if you can find information about random number generators. If there are no FAQs on the site, check out their terms and conditions or contact the casino’s support and ask how they ensure their games are safe.

  • An SSL-encrypted website should be mandatory for any casino, and very few casinos operate without this or similar safe encryption features. Always keep in mind that you are giving the casino quite a bit of sensitive information, including your payment details. When you’re uploading and sending documents to verify your identity, you want to make sure that no unauthorized third-party has access to them. Site security, therefore, doesn’t only include the website itself but also what the casino does on the backend. You should always look into a casino’s data security. You’ll normally find information about this in their terms and conditions and their privacy policy. If in doubt, contact their support and ask for more detailed information.

    Most trustworthy casinos have information about site security in the website footer, so simply scroll down and look for the logo of a well-known security system.

  • The gambling license a casino operates under will have a big impact on your security. Not all licenses are equally safe for players for the simple reason that they are issued by different gambling authorities that work in different ways and have different rules. The rules and regulations may be quite similar, but the way they are enforced is a different story entirely. For example, if a casino doesn’t comply with the regulations, some gambling authorities may just issue a fine while others may revoke the casino’s license outright. How often gambling authorities show up for an unscheduled inspection or control will also vary.

    The biggest differences between a safe, high quality gambling license and one that isn’t as good will usually show up in the areas of fair gaming, dispute resolution and the rules and systems for identifying and handling problem gamblers (responsible gambling). If your country of residence has its own gambling authority, playing at casinos that are licensed by them will be the safest option for you. Other international licenses that can be trusted are issued by the Malta Gambling Authority and the Gibraltar Regulatory Authority. Curacao eGaming is getting better at protecting players whereas licenses from Panama and Costa Rica, for instance, are considered less safe. The worst option is obviously a casino with no license whatsoever.