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Dotted around Alpensia were huge signs advertising the nearest casino offering its services to foreigners.
And the big difference here is that the casinos were marketed exclusively to foreigners — no Koreans allowed. Lotteries, horse racing, boat racing, and cycling are all legal forms of gambling in South Korea.
These charges are not regularly brought though and are often used in tandem with other charges to secure long-term convictions.
Of the 23 land-based casinos in the country, only the Kangwon Casino allows Koreans to gamble. According to a study by the Korean Center on Gambling Problems, the average Korean is two to three times more likely to suffer from gambling addiction than any other nationality.
Online gambling is strictly illegal in South Korea, with the government taking an active role in policing it. There are also a number of international companies that offer casino games to South Koreans as they are not subject to South Korean law.
This includes engaging casino games and slot games that are themed across a variety of niches — from music to movies and more. However, registering and playing with these companies is often tricky as the government has either blocked these sites or purposely slowed connections to their servers.
As such many South Koreans gamble online by using VPNs to change their location. There is an underbelly of illegal South Korean gambling providers that offer their services on the internet.
But just like their customers, they are liable to prosecution from the state and there are several high-profile examples of government crackdowns on both gambling operators and players.
This means that the most premium, reputable operators steer well clear of the market, as they can be prosecuted for entering into it. Why would South Korea legalize gambling for its citizens?
Gambling continues to provide a significant boost to the British economy. Every gambling company operating in the UK is duty-bound by law to donate a certain amount of their income to recognized gambling charities.
As such organizations such as Be Gamble Aware are recognized worldwide for their good work and support in the community. In the UK, several leading experts have argued that increased exposure to gambling through advertising and availability have led to a more mature gambling audience.
In the US, the situation is slightly different. After the PASPA ruling was repealed in May , many online operators are hoping the market will open up — as it has in a handful of states so far, including New Jersey and Delaware.
However, one casino that particularly caught our eye was this retro-style Vegas-themed operator which offers some of the best live casino games with real flesh and blood dealers.
The burning question: should South Korea relax its gambling laws? There is an element of hypocrisy to the gambling regulation in South Korea.
Nationals are restricted to gambling at just one casino yet they are free to gamble on horse racing, boat racing and national lotteries.
Foreigners are openly encouraged to avail of the 23 casinos that South Korea has to offer yet their own citizens are prohibited from visiting overseas establishments.
The situation is vaguely similar over in the US, which has an equally contradictory framework in which the federal government is opposed to online gambling despite pulling in massive amounts of revenue from tourists in Vegas.
Without doubt, South Korea would reap the economic rewards of gambling if it were to loosen its laws.
However, opening its industry up completely to its citizens might be a step too far and too early. After all, any move by politicians to loosen the casino gambling laws would be greeted with hostility by the general public.
But given the pressing economic arguments in its favor — and the fact that gamblers would be more protected and aware of the dangers — must have some politicians discussing its merits.
Haps Korea Magazine features stories of people from all walks of life in Korea, covering news and trends in lifestyle, society and whatever else is happening on the peninsula.
Sign in. Log into your account. Forgot your password? Password recovery. The, only, exception, for Koreans, to the Gambling Laws is casino gambling at Kangwon Land.
The Special Act on the Assistance to Development of Abandoned Mines established the legal framework for the development of the Kangwon Land casino and the law and related laws allows Koreans to patronize this casino.
The casino is in a remote area a few hours South of Seoul. Foreigners, however, may gamble at any legally established casino in Korea.
The Tourism Promotion Law established the legal framework that has allowed the establishment of casinos throughout Korea for the use by, solely, foreigners.
Koreans have the opportunity, within Seoul and in many major cities, to gamble via lotteries, ToTo, horse racing, powerboat racing, and cycle racing only.
He is the first non-Korean attorney to have worked for the Korean court system Constitutional Court of Korea and one of the first non-Koreans to be a regular member of a Korean law faculty.
Sean is ranked, for Korea, as one of only two non-Korean lawyers as a Top Attorney by AsiaLaw. Sean is known for his proactive New York-style street-market advice and his aggressive and non-conflicted advocacy.