Most Popular eSports Bookies in South Korea

Korea has always had an interesting relationship with gambling. When Korea was formed, following the end of the Second World War, all forms of gambling were outlawed. Korean nationals were not allowed to gamble when traveling overseas.

Korean gambling legislation has become more accommodative, paving the way for some forms of sports betting. There are also national lotteries and land-based casinos open to tourists in the country. However, online betting is a different matter altogether with all internet gambling outlawed in the country.

Most Popular eSports Bookies in South Korea

While online gaming remains outlawed, Korean nationals have been defying have those laws. This means that punters in the country often wager at offshore online casinos. So, online bettors from Korea have to go to great lengths to ensure they find an online betting site that is licensed and regulated by a trusted jurisdiction abroad.

The evolution of esports, which has its bearings in Korea, has brought significant interest in esports betting among Korean bettors. Punters into online esports betting are turning to offshore the best esports betting sites spain.

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History of esports Betting in Korea

History of esports Betting in Korea

Esports betting is not just a FAD but an industry trend here for the long haul. There are many reasons why the game enjoys widespread appeal in Korea. First, many people in the country follow esports events and always yearn to put their cash where their 'mouth' is. In addition, the dynamic nature of the game where things change in a matter of minutes makes esports events highly lucrative for punters.

Early Beginnings

Esports betting gained prominence in the Korean online gaming landscape soon after esports were officially recognized as an official sport. At first, there was no clear indication that the esports betting industry would grow astronomically, considering that betting operators were also reluctant to cover esports markets.

For starters, many factors seemed to hinder the growth of esports betting. Key among the reasons given was that the eSports industry was largely unregulated, and cases of match-fixing were a norm. Moreover, esports were mostly associated with the youthful population, most of whom were below the age of majority and could not place wagers.

As the esports' following continued soaring to new heights, the viewership and the prize pools also grew astronomically. This also meant that there was huge potential in the gambling industry. International bookmakers were quick to respond to grasp the opportunity. Also, smart punters saw these developments as opportunities to them. Things have been changing fast, and the esports industry is more organized than before.

Esports Nowadays in Korea

Present-day eSports is a fan phenomenon in South Korea. From its humble beginnings featuring armature players, the eSports industry has grown exponentially into multiple leagues with licensed programmers, supported by millions of fans, not just in Korea but across the world. The key drivers behind the rapid growth of the eSports betting industry include:

  • Advanced infrastructure developments such as the internet favor eSports
  • The Korean Government supports and regulates eSports
  • Big Korean brands such as Samsung are actively involved in supporting eSports
  • Collaboration with the media where eSports competitions are broadcasted live

Initially, Only young esports enthusiasts thought that major sportsbooks should include online esports betting markets. However, things have since changed, and online operators are well aware of this niche market's potential.

Today, the esports betting industry commands billions of dollars. The volume of punters betting on major eSports events keeps increasing, and so do the prize pools. 2021 went down in history as the year of records in eSports viewership when the League of Legends Worlds 2021 became the most-watched event in eSports history.

South Koreans can now barely differentiate esports from traditional sports. Esports are undoubtedly way ahead of conventional sports. This, in a way, gives a glimpse of what the future holds; esports are here to stay.

Future of esports betting in Korea

Esports experienced significant growth in Korea during the COVID-19 pandemic. The rapid expansion could represent a major opportunity for esports betting operators in Korea. While it might be hard to predict what the future holds with certainty, there is every reason to suggest that eSports could soon be able to compete with major sporting events in the coming years.

With millions watching esports events, the number of companies looking to sponsor esports is likely to increase. And sportsbooks could soon be quick to grab this opportunity, pumping in more money into the industry.

Lastly, though there are no signs that the Korean government might legalize online banking, likely, they could soon rethink their hard stance looking at the size of this industry.

History of esports Betting in Korea
Esports Legislation in Korea

Esports Legislation in Korea

The Korean government has actively supported the eSports industry for the last two decades, with a further five-year plan in place to support this industry further. However, the government has enacted legislation tailored to offer 'maximum benefits' to all stakeholders involved. Here are some key legislation directed towards the eSports gaming industry.

Youth Protection Act

Also known as the Cinderella or Shutdown Law, this 2011 law enacted in the South Korean government was set to control esports gaming in minors. In this law, Children under the age of sixteen are not allowed to access online games.

It is worth noting that the Shutdown Law primarily targeted online gaming and not traditional console and mobile gaming. Over the years, some players have devised ways to elude this law, including identity theft. And the fact that this law has proved difficult to enforce, Legal authorities, at times, opted to ban certain games.

Under this law, game developers that do not comply with this law risk fines of up to ₩10 million ($8,600) or a two-year jail term.

The constitutionality of this law has been contested in legal circles, with the focal point being that it infringes on the rights of young people. This law, though arguably, is often viewed to infringe on the general freedoms of parents and game providers to some degree.

Betting Acts in Korea

Korea is one of the few nations that strongly separates its citizens from foreigners regarding the legality of betting. It has already been pointed out that Koreans are not accorded as many options to wager on their favorite sporting events as opposed to foreigners. For instance, it is illegal for a Korean to gamble in all its land-based casinos, save for one. However, foreigners visiting the country are allowed to gamble as they please.

Most of the gambling legislation in the country is contained in Korean Criminal Law. This law bars Korean citizens from gambling while in the country and abroad. Under articles 246 and 247, the Criminal Law prohibits online gambling to a greater degree. Nevertheless, citizens still find ways of gambling at online bookmakers

It is also worth noting that foreigners are allowed to gamble at designated casinos that are legally established. This provision is contained in the Tourism Promotion Law that mandates all casino establishments across the country to allow tourists to play their favorite casino games.

Esports Legislation in Korea
Korea Players Favorite Games

Korea Players Favorite Games

Korea is known to be the motherland of esports, so it is no surprise that online games enjoy considerable popularity. That said, here are some of the most popular online esports games in Korea.

League of Legends (LoL)

Koreans have dominated the League of Legends scene for the last decade. Not only have Korean pro gamers been able to win at the biggest stage, but it is also known that most LoL pro gamers are Koreans. LoL has a 50% play rate in Korea, which essentially means that more than half of the players in any PC bang in the country play this game.


Developed by Blizzard in 2016, Overwatch is a "hero-shooter" game. This game is played by two teams battling it out for key control points. This game's popularity among Korean esports players is anchored on its age and gaming preferences flexibility. Besides its popularity, Korean pro-gamers have not dominated the esports circuit for a while.


PUBG, also known as PlayerUnknown's BattleGrounds is a film-inspired multiplayer battle game. PUBG enjoys significant popularity in Korea and has been a top multiplayer first-person shooter game for a while, for different reasons, but largely for thrill and the fact that a Korean-owned company developed it.

Korea Players Favorite Games
Payment methods in Korea

Payment methods in Korea

Payment methods are essential when completing online transactions to/from any bookmaker. Here are some standout payment options available to esports punters in Korea.

Credit and Debit Cards

Card payments are a common payment method in Korea for various things. Most Korean credit and debit cardholders are familiar with online card payments. The best part about card payments is that they are accepted by most online casinos offering their services to Korean players.


Neteller is another payment method that appeals to online punters. This payment method is fast, safe, secure, and most importantly, most online casinos and bookmarks accept Neteller.


Skrill is among the most popular payment method in the world today. It does not come as a surprise that Korean punters widely use it. Almost every casino that accepts players from Korea has skill as a payment option.

While these payment methods can be used in Korea, some players prefer remaining anonymous owing to the legality surrounding gambling. In this case, cryptocurrency payments (mainly Bitcoin) are fast going mainstream in Korea.

Payment methods in Korea
FAQs about betting in Korea

FAQs about betting in Korea

Is online betting legal in Korea?

Online gambling is illegal in Korea and is highly targeted by the local authorities. However, this does not mean that Koreans do not gamble. Koreans risk heavy fines or even imprisonment if caught engaging in gambling.

Can Koreans gamble abroad?

Both yes and no. The law prohibits Koreans from gambling abroad. However, some Korean nationals still gamble. However, punters from this country have to ensure that they cover their tracks to avoid getting into trouble with the local authorities.

Which is the best betting site in Korea?

Koreans can bet online at government-controlled platforms such as Sports Toto and Sports Proto. However, local players have every reason to believe that the best betting sites are those run by international operators and licensed abroad.

Are gambling wins taxed?

Yes, but this only applies to legal forms of gambling such as horse racing, bike racing, and lotteries. Proceeds of gambling are subject to a 22-30% tax. However, other types of gambling, such as online casinos and eSports betting, are not taxed as they are considered illegal.

What are the best payment methods for online players?

While credit cards and wire transfers are popular in Korea, there are considered risky as far as online gaming is concerned. As such, crypto payments and e-wallets are highly recommended for security.

FAQs about betting in Korea