By law, citizens of the Republic of Korea are forbidden from gambling. There is only place in the Republic of Korea where Korean citizens may gamble. It is at a resort in a fairly remote place in Gangwon Province. Additionally, there are the horse races in Seoul and elsewhere, but that is about it. There are casinos in Seoul and elsewhere. However, these aren’t for the locals. They are only for foreigners and you have provide your passport before entering.
I saw over on that Marmot’s Hole that the entertainer Shin Jung-hwan was sentenced to eight months imprisonment for having been caught gambling in The Philippines. It was not his first run-in with the authorities, either.
On a related note, The New York Times did a story about Chinese governmental officials using state funds to gamble over in Macao. Macao, or as its officially know, Macau was until 1999 an overseas territory of the Republic of Portugal. It’s amazing how much territory that small nation once held sway over. There are several Portuguese speaking countries in Africa, a couple in Asia, and let’s not forget Brazil! In 1999, Macau was handed back to China and it was a made, much like Hong Kong, a Special Autonomous Region. Like Hong Kong, it has its own legal system -largely derived from Portuguese law- and its own currency.
While gambling is not permitted in Hong Kong, it is very much legal in Macau. Gambling is not legal in mainland China, either. So Macau has become a very popular destination for mainland Chinese who enjoy such things. Many of them are government officials. Macau, which derives about 75% of its total revenues from gambling, manages to rake in more cash than Las Vegas or Atlantic City combined.
There have been severe problems with Chinese government officials going to Macau and spending municipal funds on their gambling habits. Some officials who have been caught have been executed. In 2009, the government on the mainland put restrictions on going there by government officials. Now, they are limited to going once every three months.