Can you play casino games in South Korea using cryptocurrencies? What are the best games and bonuses. Find out in our KOR crypto gambling guide.
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The legality of gambling in South Korea is a complex subject. In general, gambling is prohibited, but there are plenty of exceptions to that rule. It can depend on the activity and who is gambling, so it’s essential to understand the different rules.
South Korea differentiates between Korean citizens and foreigners and expats. Most laws, including gambling laws, apply to Koreans but not to tourists or people from overseas who live or spend time in the country.
It means that casinos and other online gambling sites are open for non-Koreans to enjoy. There are casinos, particularly in cities where tourists visit, which are legal and regulated in the country.
The good news is that there are some exceptions for Korean citizens. Gambling is available in Seoul and other cities for activities like horse racing, lotteries, cycling and powerboat racing.
There’s also one land-based casino that accepts citizens, Kangwon Land, which works under a specific legal framework. It’s in a remote area and is legal under the Special Act on the Assistance to Development of Abandoned Mines.
Yes, cryptocurrencies are available in South Korea. They are not considered a legal form of payment, though. President Yoon Suk-yeol is pro-crypto and is implementing policies that are friendly to cryptocurrency. Those include raising the tax threshold for crypto investments. However, there’s some disagreement over how to proceed.
Crypto is classed as a virtual asset. There are also plans to introduce a new regulatory body for digital assets and initial exchange offers, which were banned in the country in 2017. There’s also potential for setting up a structure for NFTs.
Koreans are active crypto users, with around 10% of the population participating in investment. There are some strict regulations in place, which mean that five exchanges dominate the market. It’s local options, like Korbit and Upbit, that draw most people, as foreign options struggle to meet government requirements.
The South Korean platforms are popular places, particularly for Bitcoin, as it can trade at a higher price than others in the market. Around 190 cryptocurrencies are listed on exchanges, so Koreans have plenty of choice. The most popular options are BTC, ETH, XRP, ADA and DOGE.
Gambling has a long history in Korea. It dates back to the Three Kingdoms period, which ran from 57 BC until 668 AD. It was a favourite pastime enjoyed by nobles as well as soldiers. During the Joseon dynasty, which began in 1393 and ended in 1897, the attitude to gambling changed, and it was made illegal.
However, during that time, many underground clubs were established. There the popular games that Koreans still love today flourished. Betting on board games, such as janggi, and sports were popular for many years in Korea.
When the Republic of Korea was formed, the government introduced strict legislation around gambling activities for Korean citizens. It includes the Habitual Overseas Gambler law, which means that Koreans can’t even gamble at foreign casinos.
The first modern casinos in the country appeared back in 1967. They’re usually connected to hotels, as they can only accept foreign guests. The only casino for citizens opened in 2000 and is far more popular than any other casino in the country.
As online gambling became more popular, the legislation was considered to include those activities, too. There aren’t any new or targeted laws that specifically mention online gambling, though. Penalties exist for anyone setting up and running an online casino in South Korea.
Gambling hasn’t lost its appeal in the country. Citizens take the trip to Kangwon Land to play, and foreigners frequent over 15 casinos in popular tourist areas. The laws have also been relaxed to allow a national lottery and some sports betting. The convenience of online gambling is still appealing, though.
Foreigners and some Korean citizens seek out online casinos. There are some sites that operate internationally with licences from other jurisdictions that accept Korean players. Players in South Korea do so at their own risk, often choosing to use anonymous payment methods and using a VPN to keep their gambling activity private.
Koreans are familiar with many games, including traditional ones from the past and casino classics. In Kangwon Land, players can enjoy slots, blackjack, roulette and other options.
Slots are the most popular option by far when playing at the casino or online. The variety of titles and different themes are attractive. As a technologically advanced nation, mobile slot play is the preferred method for anyone accessing games online.
The Wheel of Fortune is a particular type of slot in South Korea that draws in a big crowd. The grid differs from most slots as the second and fourth reels have four rows and the third reel has five. The additional rows provide more opportunities to win, which is what makes them a big attraction in foreign and citizen casinos.
When it comes to casino classics, players will seek out the roulette table. It’s fast-paced, and the game is easy to pick up. The fact that there are even bets makes it a top choice for more risk-averse patrons. In terms of card games, baccarat is popular. It’s a guessing game that builds tension as the cards are revealed.
Casinos that accept players from South Korea also offer bonuses. Some of them are available in KRW. One of the most popular is a 100% deposit match as a welcome bonus. For those that seek out sports betting, free bets are the top choice.
Cashback and free spins aren’t as common, but there are a few people that look for these rewards and do in fact claim them. Whatever bonuses Koreans can find, they make the most of them by exploring their favourite games when visiting the casino and playing online.
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