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North Korea Gambling

North Korean Gambling Laws

Gambling is illegal for North Korean citizens, but tourists are allowed to engage in the activity on a highly regulated basis. Everything is tightly controlled in North Korea, and cell phones are not even allowed into the country. Even the most expensive hotels do not have Internet access.

North Korean Gambling Exports

Business interests in North Korea are involved with as many as one-third of all Japanese pachinko facilities. In pachinko, the customer puts money into something akin to a pinball machine. If he wins, he receives balls which can then be redeemed for small-time prizes.

Online Gambling in Korea

In 2002, North Korea started up an online lottery site in cooperation with a South Korean company. Since North Koreans are in no financial shape to gamble, the site targeted residents of South Korea. The site was called and was reported to be the first website operated out of North Korea.

Winners of the lottery were promised one-hundred percent of the pot, as opposed to thirty-percent in most lottery games. With each visit to the site, players were able to wager from one to ten U.S. dollars.

In 2004, the Seoul (South Korean) government blocked access to another North Korean gambling site named The software developer also had their inter-Korean business license pulled. This was due to the fact that online gambling in South Korea is prohibited, and the government had instructed the company to stop running the site.

Casinos in North Korea

In the 1990s, investors from Hong Kong and Macau were allowed to open casinos in North Korea. One casino was located in the basement of a hotel in Pyongyang. The other, The Seaview Casino Hotel, was situated in Rajin-Sonbong, a failed investment zone close to the Chinese border. Since casino gambling is illegal in China, the North Korean government hoped to attract affluent Chinese tourists.

Crowds of Chinese gamblers flocked to the casinos, as did corrupt Chinese officials with the government’s money in their pocket. One official embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Chinese government and lost it all at the casino in Rajin-Sonbong. The offending casino was closed in early 2005, and the Chinese government have since restricted the flow of those wishing to cross the border into North Korea.

With the closing of the Seaview, there is currently only one operational casino in North Korea. It is known as the Pyongyang Casino and Yanggakdo Hotel and is located at Pyongyang, Pyongyang-si, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. For more information, potential customers may call +850 2 181 112134.

North Korean Facts

Officially known as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the country also known as North Korea is located in East Asia and bordered by South Korea, China and Russia. The capital city is Pyongyang.

North and South Korea are separated by the Korean Demilitarized Zone. Korea was one nation until it separated following World War II.

The government’s idea of Juche (or self-reliance) was formed by Kim Il-sung, the first president of North Korea. Upon his death, his son, Kim Jong-il, took control of the nation.

The government is run as a dictatorship, with Kim Jong-Il revered as a hero throughout the country. Following his death in 1994, Kim Il-sung was given the title of “Eternal President.” His son now holds the title of Chairman of the National Defense Commission of North Korea.

North Korea has strong relations with Burma, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and China. The Soviet Union was a major economic partner before their collapse.

The nation of North Korea is divided into nine provinces, three special regions and two directly-governed cities. These include:


- Chagang
- North Hamgyong
- South Hamgyong
- North Hwanghae
- South Hwanghae
- Kangwon
- North Pyongan
- South Pyongan
- Ryanggang

Special Regions:

- Kaesong Industrial Region
- Kumgangsan Tourist Region
- Sinuiju Special Administrative Region

Directly-governed cities:

- Pyongyang
- Rason

Major cities in North Korea include the following:

- Sinuiju
- Kaesong
- Nampho
- Chongjin
- Wonsan
- Sariwon
- Hoeryong
- Hamhung
- Haeju
- Kanggye
- Hyesan
- Kimchaek
- Kangso

Human rights groups such as Amnesty International have accused North Korea of such crimes as torture, murder, rape and medical experimentation. Citizens of the country have been called “some of the world’s most brutalized people.” North Korean prison camps are reported to hold as many as 150,000 to 200,000 inmates.

In recent years, conditions have improved slightly, with capital punishment being replaced with less severe forms of retribution. Many citizens wear South Korean clothing and watch South Korean movies. While both acts are illegal, it is believed that they are now punished through a simple fine or solved through bribery.

North Korea has the fourth-largest military in the world. They have the highest percentage of military personnel per capita, with 40 soldiers for every 1,000 citizens.

The country’s population is estimated at 23 million. Small numbers of Europeans, South Koreans, Vietnamese, Chinese and Japanese can also be found.

All forms of religion come second to the hero worship of Kim Jong-Il. The government claims that Cheondoism is the nation’s largest religion, followed by Christianity and Buddhism. One watchdog group, however, claims that North Korea persecutes Christians more severely than any other country.

The official language of the country is Korean. While it differs slightly from the version used in South Korea, the difference is not dramatic.

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