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Gambling in South Korea

South Korean Gambling Laws

There are 19 casinos in South Korea. With its growing economy, one might expect more casinos, but Korean gaming law is a part of being a late comer to the casino gambling business.

There are powerful anti-gambling interests in South Korea, which might hold back the brick-and-mortar casino industry. But with excess investment capital and a growing population, South Korea seems poised for a major expansion of their gambling industry. 

Tourism is on the rise, while the South Korean culture has become en vogue in East Asia in the past five to ten years. The Hallyu or Korean Wave is a term used to describe the growing popularity of of South Korean movies, music and literature in neighboring countries.

Fight Against Gambling in South Korea

Certain influential South Korean citizens have tried to limit or even ban gambling in South Korea. For instance, the moralistic National Council for Upgrading Korea announced in 2006 a campaign to rid South Korea of gambling. The group cited concerns that South Korea was considered a "gambling republic" instead of a developed nation.

South Korean Gambling Scandals

Anti-gambling forces might be motivated by a high level gambling scandal in the South Korean government. Two members of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism were indicted for taking illegal bribes from state-licensed gambling companies.

Casino Gambling Explosion

That being said, casino gambling has seen a steep rise in recent years, with the building of major Seoul-area casinos like the Seven Luck casino. A 2007 report showed that tourism to Seoul had increased almost double in one years time, with the larger casino market contributing to this upswing in tourism. Here's a list of the casinos found throughout South Korea, along with the city or municipality in which you will find them.

Casinos in South Korea

7Luck Casino Busan Lotte (Busan) - 70 gaming machines and 35 table games. Website is www.7luck.com/en or call at +82 51 665 660 0.

Paradise Casino Busan (Busan) - 33 gaming machines, including slots and video poker. Also have 27 table games, including roulette, blackjack, baccarat and tai sai. Online site is www.pucancasino.co.kr or call them at +82 51 742 211 0 or +82 51 742 212 1.

Cheju KAL Hotel & Casino (Cheju City) - 50 slot machines and 16 table games, including blackjack, baccarat and roulette. Their phone number is +82 64 757 811 1.

Cheju Oriental Hotel & Casino (Cheju City) - 50 slots and 19 gaming tables, with blackjack, baccarat and roulette offered. The Cheju Oriental website is english.oriental.co.kr and the general information number is +82 64 752 822 2.

Crowne Plaze Casino Cheju (Cheju City) - 44 gaming machines, including slots, video poker machines and midibac, as well as 20 tables, offering blackjack, baccarat, roulette, tai sai and mini-baccarat. Contact numbers include
+82 64 741 800 0 or +82 64 747 423 3.

Paradise Grand Casino (Cheju City) - 43 slot machines and 7 video poker machines, as well as 30 tables games. These tables offer baccarat, blackjack, mini-baccarat, Roulette and Wheel of Fortune. The number of the Paradise Grand in Cheju is +82 64 740 700 0. 

Golden Gate Casino (Incheon) - 50 slot machines and 25 table games, with baccarat, mini-baccarat, blackjack, roulette and tai sai. You can contact Golden Gate at +82 32 452 886 1.

Kangwon Land Resort & Casino (Jeongseongun) - The largest casino in South Korea, with 960 slot machines and 132 table games. The information number is +82 33 590 708 1 and the website is www.kangwonland.com

Wellich Chosun Hotel & Casino in Kyongju. 

Hyatt Regency Cheju Casino (Seogwipo City) - The contact number is +82 64 735 150 0 at Hyatt Regency. The casino has 30 slot machines and 20 tables, including blackjack, baccarat, mini-baccarat, sic bo, roulette and even one Money Wheel table.

Lotte Hotel and Casino (Seogwipo City) - 50 slots and 32 game tables. For general information, call +82 64 731 212 1.

The Shilla Jeju Casino (Seogwipo-Si) - 16 machines and 19 tables. The information number is +82 64 735 511 4.

7Luck Casino at Millennium Hilton Casino (Seoul) - Another larger casino, with 142 gaming machines, including Big Wheel machines. Also have 58 tables, including baccarat, mini-baccarat, midi-baccarat, roulette, tai sai, blackjack, Caribbean Stud Poker and Pai Gow poker. Their number is +82 22 021 600 0.

Paradize Walker-Hill Casino (Seoul) - 59 tables, including blackjack, baccarat, American roulette and Tai Sai, as well as 40 machines. There are two contact numbers, at +82 24 504 805 and +82 24 562 121.

Seven Luck (Seoul) - The general information number is +82 23 466 600 0. 

Sorak Park Hotel & Casino (Sokch'o City) - Games offered include Tai Sai, Keno, roulette, blackjack, baccarat and mini-baccarat. The Sorak Casino number is +82 336 367 711.

South Korean Horse Tracks

Busan Gyeongnam Race Park - Busan
Jeju Racecourse - Cheju City
Seoul Racecourse - Seoul

Lotteries in South Korea

South Koreans love the lottery. The first lottery in history is thought to date to Ancient China and the Koreans have been influenced by their giant neighbor's rich history of lottery style games. 

There are five major lottery operations in South Korea, which is a large number for such a relatively small area. Below is a list of state-licensed lotto games.

BET Corporation
Kookmin Bank
KSF or Korea Science Foundation
Seoul Olympic Sports Promotion Foundation
Sports TOTO Company, Limited

Online Poker in South Korea

South Korea allows its citizens to play online poker. Online casinos like Korea3DPoker, whose primary language is Korean, target the South Korean online casino gambler.

South Korea does not license online casinos through any of its governmental institutions, though.

South Korean History

South Korea is a relatively new state, having existed since 1945. The Koreans maintain a sense of independence from the two neighboring large states nearby: China and Japan. Despite being divided between a northern and southern half, the South Koreans have transformed their nation into an economically vibrant civilization with a major impact on the culture and economy of the region.

Korea was a united and independent peninsula until the late 19th century, when it became a target for the colonial ambitions of the European powers and the modern Japanese state. When the Japanese defeated the disorganized Chinese Empire in an 1895 war, Korea's independence was placed at risk.

Japanese Rule of Korea

This led to the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05, as both Russia and Japan had ambitions in Korea. Japan won the war and made Korea an imperial province. The Japanese hoped not only to make Korea a site for Japanese settlers, but also a springboard for further expansion into Manchuria.

These ambitions led to another war in China, which was supported by the United States. This, in turn, led to war in the pacific between the United States and Japan. In the last days of the Pacific theater of World War II, the Soviet Union entered the war against Japan. The Soviets were able to overrun the Japanese armies in Manchuria and occupy the northern part of Korea. When the settlement came in 1945, Korea was divided between a northern communist half and a southern, democratic half.

Two Permanent Korean States

Despite a North Korean invasion in 1950, Korea has remained divided for the past 63 years. South Korea has 2/3rd of the population and an economy ten times larger than the North Koreans. South Korea also has a modern state based on western ideas of democracy. These ideas include fairly liberal gambling laws.

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