South Korea Casino & Gambling Overview
South Korea Casinos & Gambling:
South Korea has had legalized gambling for foreigners since 1967 with the first casino, Incheon Olympos Hotel Casino, opening the same year. It wasn't until the Kangwon Land Casino opened in 2000 that denizens and expatriate South Koreans could gamble. As of 2014 Kangwon Land Casino was still the only place South Koreans could play casino games legally. Many of the less than 20 casinos are small venues located inside 4-star and 5-star hotels catering to foreign visitors. However we are seeing the signs of some all encompassing super-casino resorts opening in the next few years.
Seven of the sixteen casinos, and one of the three horse racing venues in South Korea are located on Jeju Island in the cities of Jeju and Seogwipo - each on opposite sides of the island. Jeju Province is a tropical paradise with natural hot springs, volcanic outcroppings, waterfalls and high elevation volcanic mountains. Halla Mountain rises some 1,950 meters (6,400 ft) and is the tallest mountain in South Korea.
The location and geography of South Korea
South Korea is located in East Asia and occupies the southern half the Korean Peninsula protruding from the Asian landmass to the far east. The country is surrounded on all sides by water except for its border with North Korea. The land is touched by three seas with 2,413 kilometers (1,499 mi) of coastline.
Although there are no special administrative districts for the purpose of gambling, an effort had been made to place all casinos in the Jeju Province to keep them at bay from the general population. Other than Seoul, its neighbor Incheon, Busan, and a few other scattered concerns, most gambling takes place on Jeju Island.
The casinos of South Korea
Kangwon Land Casino, open to local and foreign players, is by far the most active of all casinos in the country. In the year 2000 gaming revenue for Kangwon Land was 78,676,000KRW with revenue for all "foreign only" casinos coming in at 303,045,000KRW. By 2011 those numbers had changed dramatically with Kangwon Land pulling in 1,078,987,000 and all other casinos combined posting revenue of 1,027,299,000.
Not counting Kangwon Land, the biggest players in 2011 by market share according to data from UNLV, were Paradise with 48.3% of the market and Grand Korea Leisure (GKL) with 46.2%. These two concerns had licenses for five and three casinos respectively, with the balance of 5% market share going to the other 8 casinos combined.
Available Casino Games in South Korea
Far and away the most popular game in South Korea is baccarat as it is the game with the most tables at every casino we have reviewed here. Based on that it is safe to say that blackjack is next, followed by roulette. Most casinos only have one or two Tai Sai or "Sic-Bo" games but many also offer what is known in the west as Wheel-of-Fortune, but referred to as Big Wheel in most of Asia. Many of the casinos offer a token number of slot machines, both reel classics and newer multi-line video slots. Kangwon Land also operate over 100 electronic table games. These are usually roulette tables with a physical wheel and individual betting terminals.
Pari-mutuel facilities in South Korea
There are currently three horse racing tracks in South Korea. Seoul Race Park and Busan-Gyeongnam Race Park run thoroughbred races with about 100 meets per year, and Jeju Race Park runs Korean native ponies. The Korean native pony has been designated National Monument No. 347.
All pari-mutuel betting is handled by Korean Racing Authority, established 1923. Betting at the parks and in any of the Off track Betting plazas operated by them is done through betting terminals connected to the main Pari-Mutuel Betting Control Center at Seoul Race Park.
There are 30 KRA Plazas in South Korea with most of them in the Seoul metro area. About 70% of all action on any given race day goes through Plaza terminals. The Plazas are open all week as community activity, culture and leisure centers even though racing only occurs on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
South Korea Casinos and Gambling in Summary
The "foreign only" casinos in South Korea rely completely upon visitors with valid international passports and most of those visitors come from China followed closely by Japan. There are currently three mega-casinos in the preliminary approval and development stage including two planned for the Seoul/Incheon areas and one for Jeju. Caesars Entertainment Corporation is heading up a consortium for one of them, Paradise is involved in another, and Australian James Packer of Crown Resorts Ltd., is involved in one as well.
One foreign-only casino in particular is sure to see an amazing influx of visitors by 2018. Alpensia Casino is located in the resort that will be the site of the opening and closing ceremonies for the 2018 Winter Olympics.
Casinos and Gambling Facts
South Korea is a country in East Asia with legal gambling.
There are 10 cities with gambling facilities in South Korea which have 26 legal gambling facilities available in total.
The types of gambling available in South Korea are: casinos, horseracing tracks.
The largest gambling city in South Korea is Jeju with 8 gambling facilities, 304 tables games, 618 gaming, slot, and video poker machines.
The largest casino in the entire country of South Korea is Inspire Integrated Resort which is located in Incheon. Inspire Integrated Resort has 250 table games, 1,500 gaming and video poker machines.
Visit Pagat to view a complete list of card games played in South Korea.
South Korea Casino Stats
South Korea Casino List
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