There are seven different kinds of bet available. The odds are calculated using a Pari-Mutuel tote system and all bets are made by filling out a lottery ticket style form and either handing it to a teller at of the hundreds of betting windows around the track or by putting it into one of the self service machines.
Takeout is 20% on Win & Place (80% returned to bettors) and (26%) on all other bet types (74% returned to bettors)
The bets available are as follows:
Win – You win by picking the horse that will finish first.
Place – You win if the horse you pick finishes in the top three or, if the race has less than eight runners (which in Korea is unusual) in the top 2.
Exacta – You pick two horses – one to win and one to come second and you win so long as they finish first and second in that order. This is a very popular bet with many racegoers picking one horse to win and then making several bets on different horses to come second.
Quinella – You pick two horses and win if they come first and second in any order. This is by far the most popular type of bet with Korean punters.
Quninella Place – You pick two horses and win if they both finish in the first three.
Trio – In this bet, you pick three horses and you win if they finish in the first three, in any order.
Tierce – You pick three horses to finish 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the correct order. This bet is currently only available on the mobile betting app.
The information desk near the main entrance of the the first floor of Luckyville grandstand as well as the other information desks around the track have an excellent English language leaflet which has a step by step guide to filling out the betting slips complete with examples.
Minimum bet is just 100won with a maximum of 100,000won.
The tote system tends to produce a lot of odds-on favourites and for this reason, the exactas and quinellas tend to be more favoured by racegoers as they offer much better odds. On a Sunday afternoon, each race will have up to US$6 Million riding on it.
On floors 1-3 (at Seoul), the betting windows are a mixture of staffed and automated terminals. It is probably easier for the first-time to use the staffed ones as you simply hand your money and your betting slip to the cashier. On floor 4, they are all automated and you need to exchange your money at a staffed window for a credit slip before using them.
The English language form sheet, available from the “Foreigner Information” desk next to the 1st Floor entrance of Luckyville grandstand, is detailed enough to give a general idea of which is the best horse in the race, however, for those looking for more detailed guides plus “expert” predicitions, it is a good idea to buy one of the many formguides that are available both inside and outside the track. Although all in Korean, it is easy to work out which horses they predict and the layout of the card is exactly the same as that used in just about every country.
There are two types of guide available. First are ones with names such as “Ace”, “Speed” and “New World” which cost 1000 won and have the day’s card with predictions for each race and second are the more detailed ones of which “Seoul Gyongma” and “Gyongma Munhwa” (The Korean Racing Journal) are the most popular, costing 4000 won and with a lot more background information for serious punters. These ones can also be bought from many convenience stores around Korea on the day before the racing. If you buy a formguide from one of the many sellers on the way out of the subway station, you are usually given a “signpen” to use to fill out the betting slip.
You don’t have to go to the track to bet. In Seoul and Busan as well as some other major cities, the KRA operates off-track betting facilities, known as “Let’s Run CCC” where you can watch the racing on screens and bet into the pari-mutuel pools. It’s probably worth noting that the off-track betting centres are not the ideal venue for a day out so we won’t list all the locations here, however, feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet @korearacing with your location to find out where the closest one is to you.
In the past, the KRA used to operate Telephone and Internet betting, however, the Korean government regulator ordered these to be terminated in 2009. The regulator has ordered the KRA to reduce the proportion of betting off-track to 50% of the total within the next 5 years so it is under pressure to close its off-track plazas. For now though, they remain open and have recently been rebranded as “Let’s Run Cultural Centers” in order to reflect the community use that the facilities are put to on non-racing days.