Online betting is now very popular in South Korea (Dae Han Min Guk). Before, many Koreans were scared to gamble (내기하다) with betting agents and websites not approved by the government. It was even a serious crime for Koreans to gamble when on holiday in another country. In this article I’ll tell you how much has changed, and tell you how Koreans can bet on sports, as well as play casino games and poker on the internet.
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For many years the only legal betting in Korea was lottoilbo (lottery), horse racing, boat racing and bicycle racing. In 1991 South Korea joined the United Nations. With focus on tourism, police became less serious about many gambling laws. In 1997, Korea started SportsToto (스포츠토토) which now offers betting on the most popular Korean sports football (soccer), baseball, basketball, volleyball, golf, and ssireum (traditional Korean wrestling) in fixed odds and running odds formats.
Computers to bet SportsToto can be found all over the country. The profits Toto makes are used to help local sports clubs.
In the year 2000 casinos were made legal in the country. Today there are eight casinos in Cheju-do (Jeju-do) Island, three in Seoul, three in Kyongju, two in Incheon and two in Busan. Also, Jeongseongun, Pusan, Pyeong Chang gun, and Sokch’o City each have one casino. Some of these casinos are foreigners only and some offer gambling to Korean people. The games found in Korean casinos include jackpot slots, video machines, roulette, blackjack, baccarat, daisai (tai sai), 7 Luck 21, 3-card poker, Caribbean stud poker, big wheel, Texas hold’em poker and casino war.
In 2011, there was a big push to relax gambling laws and to make gambling more accessible Koreans. This included the minister for culture, tourism and sports, Mr. Jung Byung-Guk saying he would push for repeal of the archaic Korean gambling laws, in order to allow all Korean citizens entry into the foreigner only casinos in the country. The following year a major online gambling site, pokerstars.com, ran a high stakes poker tournament in South Korea. This tournament (APPT Seoul) had 268 players pay a KRW 3,000,000 entry fee. In the end, on March 11, 2012, Andrew Kim was the winner. He was paid first place prize KRW 717,489,000.
In spite of the fact that Korea has not changed gambling laws in over 12-years, there has still been alot of changes. The police work hard to stop (and punish anyone involved with) match fixing (cheating) and mafia-run betting. Both still happen a lot. Police are not very serious anymore about gambling with friends, gambling while on holidays, and using foreign online betting sites.
How to Bet Online from Korea
When betting online from Korea, it’s important to use foreign online bookies, foreign currency and foreign banking methods. The websites operating from Korea that use agents to collect and pay are highly illegal and most are run by the mafia and organized criminals.
Getting Set up is a Small Hassle
Initially getting set up to bet online from Korea involves some work. You need an e-wallet in Euro, need to be verified by the e-wallets and online bookmakers (which might also include needing an English ID and Utility Bill) and you might also need a VPN (get one here) to get around ISP blocks that redirect gambling websites to “warning.or.kr”. In this section I cover all the solutions to these challenges. Understand, when you have all this, it is very easy to bet online and winnings can be paid out anytime at Korean ATM machines.
Step One – Opening E-Wallets
To send money to online bookies you will first need an e-wallet account. You also need this in order to get paid after you win money. An e-wallet is the same as an online bank. You can open an account at www.neteller.com.
Be Sure to Use Euro currency – Many Korean banks will not send United States dollar (USD) to NETELLER. It is important when opening an account you choose European Union euro (EUR) as your account currency.
Sending Money to NETELLER: After opening your account , you can put money into NETELLER by making a wire transfer. If you have online banking this can be done online. It will take a few days for the money to show in your NETELLER account.
Don’t Mention Gambling: If asked what the NETELLER bank wire is for, do not tell your bank betting or gambling. If you do they probably will not let you make wire transfers anymore. If asked, maybe tell the bank it is for a foreign investment with a UK company. If asked what kind of company, tell more by saying it is a website business. This is not lying; it is talking small to not give them too much information.
Order a FREE Net+ Card: After you put money into NETELLER, you can order a free NET+ MasterCard also in Euro currency. This is an ATM card that you can use as a MasterCard, or use to take NETELLER money out as cash at the ATM.
Of course living in Korea you will be using NET+ Card for South Korean won ₩, but this is okay. NETELLER will convert your euro balance to won for you automatically. They charge a 2.5% fee for this, which is less than most banks charge for currency exchange.
How NETELLER works: You open an account and send money to it using wire transfer from your local Korean bank. All legitimate online sports betting sites offer NETELLER deposits through the cashier system on their site. You simply log into an online betting account and deposit money from the balance in your NETELLER account. You can then bet sports, casino or poker with this website. When you want to get paid after you win, visit their cashier and request a NETELLER payout. The money will be moved from the online bookie to your NETELLER account in 12-24 hours. You can then use NETELLER money to deposit at other online bookies, or you can take money out of NETELLER. To take money out, use your NET+ MasterCard either at the ATM or spend at a store or website that takes MasterCard. Like with most debit cards, you can only withdraw or spend the amount that is inside your NETELLER account.
E-wallets and online bookies will ask you one time to send a photo ID and proof of address. For the photo ID it is best to use a passport when possible. Foreign online bookies are skeptical of Korean Citizen Cards and drivers licenses when used as photo ID. If you don’t have a Korean Passport you can apply for one at any of the 14 provincial offices (located in Metropolitan cities) for fast processing (3 days) or can also apply at local city hall (7-10 days to process). The cost is KRW 55,000.
What’s often tougher is address verification. You’ll be asked to send in a copy of a recent utility bill, which of course will be in Korean not English. If rejected, the site might ask you to send them a certified translation. This can get expensive so you should explain this to the online bookie and ask if you can use your address registration document instead. For this, if you go to your local district office (Dong-Samuso) and ask for an English version of your registration document with your address they will give you one. Another option is to ask the online bookmaker to accept an English bank statement to verify your address (all Korean banks will give statements in English when asked).
Step 3- Consider Buying a Singapore VPN
Remember the Korean government has no jurisdiction over foreign bookmakers. This is because their websites are legal in the European country they are located and licensed in, and are legal under international law. The only reason the Korean government takes action is to protect the country’s SportsToto revenue. They do this by blocking access to some foreign gambling websites. You’ll find these websites sometimes work and sometimes redirect to the url warning.or.kr. For $15.00 US per month you can purchase a Singapore VPN that will get around this block (details here). This is very easy to set up and their chat support will help if you need help.
Step 4 – Choose An Online Betting Site
Now that you have an e-wallet with an ATM card, proper ID documents, and a way around the ISP blocks, you’re ready to use online gambling websites. Below are details of the four most popular websites than can be used for online betting from Korea.
www.188bet.com is an Asian bookie licensed in Isle of Man, which is a British Crown (UK) dependency, by a UK approved gambling commission. Here you will find many football betting markets including the four leagues that Bet365 supports. You’ll also find Korean basketball and baseball covered. The only thing you won’t find much of is volleyball betting as this one area 188bet.com is weak. A nice plus to using this site is they offer an online casino too, which has Korean language support and special bonus offers for Korean players.
www.bwin.com is licensed in Gibraltar which like Isle of Man is a British Crown dependency and their gambling commission is UK approved. This is our favorite online bookmaker for Asian volleyball betting because they cover far more leagues than the competition. They are also tops for football prop bets as well early lines on small markets. For example BWIN post betting odds on Korean National League football well before all other online bookies. They also offer the largest variety of exotic prop bets and specials.
www.pinnaclesports.com is the only site on the four listed here that offers odds on Korean Women’s Volleyball League. While this is nice plus, the real reason to use Pinnacle sports is they offer the best odds and highest limits in the industry on all sports. The tradeoff for this is they have less markets and propositions than can be found at the other sites mentioned here. Pinnacle is licensed in Alderney which is yet another Brittish Crown dependency with a gambling commission approved by the UK.
Finally, it’s worth noting most all online bookies offer accounts to Korean residents. The four recommended on this page are the best for most Korean punters. If you have a special interest you can navigate our website some more and feel confident joining any of the online bookies mentioned on the various pages of our website. With that said, we wish you the best of luck this betting season.
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