South Korean online betting on horse racing may have moved a step closer this week.
The country’s leading racehorse industry body, the Korea Racing Authority (KRA), has begun a push to bring legal online horse racing betting to the country.
The KRA hopes to boost the betting industry in the country but is also aiming to limit the reach of illegal online betting. According to the KRA’s Responsible Betting unit, the KRA has recently conducted a debate in the Korean parliament on the subject. They haven’t released details of the conclusions from that debate, which included people from both sides of the argument. But although no legislation has yet been filed, there is a clear push for online horse racing betting.
It is legal to offer sports and lottery betting online in South Korea, but horse racing betting can only be offered at racecourses or official betting premises, restricted to overseas punters.
The KRA is the dominant player in South Korea horse racing. It has exclusive rights to offer betting at the country’s three racecourses, which it also operates. It currently offers several pari-mutuel bet types, with a 16% tax paid on all bets. The KRA also takes a commission on all bets.
The KRA dominance of horse racing betting in the country is clearly threatened by illegal online sites. But if online horse racing betting is legalised, it could have other consequences. It is possible that international betting firms may push for a share of the horse racing betting market.
There may also be implications for online casino betting. It is not legal for companies to offer online casino betting in the country, but an expansion of the South Korean online betting sector could lead to a push for the authorities to legalize internet casino betting.