If you’re going to pretend to gamble….

…you can now only pretend to do it for ten hours a day…Not racing related but there have been some regulatory developments in the gambling sector. In the absence of legalized gambling all sorts of alternatives go on in Korea, most of them online. One of the most popular is “virtual gambling” where players take each other on at various games over the internet – Korean Poker or “Go-Stop” being one of the most popular. No money changes hands in these games.

In these games, players are given a certain amount of “virtual money” each day to play with how they choose. There’s no charge for this but when they run out, they have the opportunity to purchase more. Leftover money cannot be redeemed for real money so no actual “gambling” of any consequence takes place – in theory anyway. As with many online games in Korea, a market has sprung up for in-game items. In this case, there are reportedly instances of players selling their credit to other players in pre-arranged games where the “loser” deliberately loses all their game credit in exchange for real money.

Now the Korea Times reports that new regulations are coming in designed to limit players to ten hours each day. No doubt new ways to circumvent these rules will appear – most likely involving the exchange of even more “real” money. In Korea, only foreigners are allowed to legally lose all their money in casinos so Koreans have turned to all manner of different enterprises to get their gambling fix – indoor fishing being a particularly ingenious example before the Supreme Court got wind of it.


  1. I’m trying to picture people betting on indoor fishing. Seems strange that only foreigners are the only ones legally allowed to gamble in South Korea.

  2. I can’t believe that you guys aren’t allowed to gamble on horse racing! It must seriously effect the horse racing business in South Korea. I know in many other countries in Asia gambling is strictly controlled (like Hong Kong) but you would think that even the government would run a ‘Tote’ system for betting ~ The Tote system is pooled money just like a lottery, do the government in South Korea run a state lottery?

  3. Sorry, I wasn’t clear in the article! Gambling on horse racing is allowed (pari-mutuel) although the maximum bet is 100,000 won (about $80). There are also legalized pari-mutuels on track cycling and, believe it or not, motor boat racing, as well as a national lottery.

    There are casinos all over Korea but with the exception of one out in the countryside, Korean citizens are not allowed to enter. No other betting is allowed.

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