South Korea’s casinos are in something of an odd situation. While there are 14 of them and licences have been issued for three more, only one of them is actually open to South Korean citizens. All the others are restricted to foreign nationals. As South Korea is not, despite certain attractions, known as a great tourist destination, this has meant most of the casinos running at 10% or so of capacity.
Koreans themselves are inveterate gamblers and in recent years there has been an explosion of online casinos in the Korean language, which the Government is busily trying to close down. There is also extensive gambling on horse racing, sometimes even bicycle racing and other sports events, as well. But despite this huge cultural predisposition to gambling, South Korea’s casinos are hampered by the fact that only one of them is allowed to let the local citizens inside.
A list of South Korea’s Casinos includes:
Busan: Paradise Casino Busan
Cheju City: Cheju KAL Hotel and Casino
Cheju Oriental Hotel and Casino
Crowne Plaza Casino Cheju
Paradise Grand Casino
The Shilla Cheju’s Casino
Incheon: Paradise Olympos Casino
Jeongseongun: Kangwon Land Resort and Casino
Kyongju: Wellich Choson Hotel and Casino
Samseong: Seven Luck
Seogwipo City: Hyatt Regency Cheju Casino
Lotte Hotel and Casino
Seoul: Paradise Walker-Hill Casino
Sockch’o City: Sorak Park Hotel and Casino
In addition to these South Korea casinos, there are also horse racing tracks in Busan, Cheju City, and Seoul. Eight of South Korea’s casinos are located on the resort island of Chuju, while the other casinos are in the capital and larger cities.
The South Korean Government is so keen to limit their citizens’ ability to gamble that not only does it, as above, try to shut down Korean language online sites, it also attempts to block them from even being seen inside the country. There have also been a number of attempts to make it illegal, or at least stop the practice of people using credits cards issued in South Korea to gamble elsewhere.
While South Korea’s casinos cannot, as above, allow the local citizens inside to play (except in that one case), this doesn’t stop gambling from actually going on. There are myriad illegal places all over the country where games can be played for money. It is also true that many take the short flight to Macau, the ex-Portuguese colony, where gambling thrives. Finally, the very richest ignore all the restrictions simply by taking a plane to Las Vegas.