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More information about South Korea – Online Casinos & Gambling Regulations

Table of Contents

Finding the best Korean casino online

To find a South Korean online casino, you’ll have to look outside the country’s borders. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of online casinos on the market today, and it may not always be easy to know what to look for in a casino.

We’ve compiled a list of things which, depending on your answers, will give you a good picture of what a casino will be able to offer you.

  • Do they accept players from South Korea?
  • Can you play using Korean as a language?
  • Which license are they operating under?
  • Do they offer the types of games you want? (Casino, live casino, sports?)
  • Can you participate in promotions or VIP-programs?
  • Is their customer support available at convenient times?

To help you find answers to these questions, we’ve already answered them in our GoodLuckMate casino reviews. Each review gives you all the information necessary to find out about the casino you’re looking into.

Gambling regulation – The Criminal Act

Ok, so, here’s the deal. Local online casinos are illegal in Korea. This means that if you find an online casino site that’s operating from Korea, and you play there, you’ll be breaking the law. 

The fines? As per Article 246 of the Criminal Act, first-time offenders risk an RKW 5 million fine, with “habitual” offenders risking up to 20 million RKW penalties and up to 3 years in prison. Furthermore, it’s also illegal for Koreans to gamble when they’re outside of the country, as per the “Habitual Overseas Gambler” law.

That said, online casinos that are located outside of Korea, such as European casinos, are not bound by Korean law. And currently, no laws are prohibiting Korean players from accessing and using foreign gambling sites from Korea.

It is, however, illegal for foreign gambling companies to target Korean players, which means that the government works hard at restricting these sites from being accessible to players in Korea.

Localized online casinos

As mentioned, there are no localized online casinos since all of them are restricted. Are there foreign casinos offering their sites in Korean? Yes. There are several online casinos licensed and located outside of the republic that offers their websites in various languages, one of them being Korean.

Players usually access these foreign sites by using VPN-services that mask their actual location. Using a VPN when playing at an online casino is a breach of the casino Terms and Conditions, and this puts you at risk of losing any funds you win or getting your account permanently closed. We don’t recommend using services like these. It’s up to you if you want to do so anyway.

Casino in Korea

So, we’ve already established that there are no local online casinos in the country, but what about land-based casinos? The Republic of Korea has a total of 23 brick-and-mortar casinos spread out across the country, but only one of them allows Koreans!

Yes, this is one of the odd aspects of the country’s gambling laws: locals are only allowed to play at the Kangwon Land casino, while foreigners and tourists are free to play at any of the other 22.

Locals are, however, also able to play in the state-owned lottery and even bet on any of the allowed sports in Proto or Toto games. The allowed sports available are as follows:

  • Basketball
  • Football
  • Baseball
  • Ssireum
  • Volleyball
  • Golf
  • Olympics sports
  • Horse racing
  • Boat racing
  • Bicycle racing

It is safe to say that the gambling industry in Korea is seen as destructive and harmful by the government. However, because more and more countries are moving towards becoming regulated, and there’s a lot of responsible gaming information and support for those who need it, it will be interesting to see what the future holds for the gambling culture in South Korea.

  • 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.