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Can foreigners play lotto in South Korea?

Lotteries are popular games of chance around the world, offering the possibility of winning big prizes for a small wager. With dreams of hitting a life-changing jackpot, many foreigners visiting or living in South Korea wonder if they can participate in the country’s lotto games.

South Korea has a thriving lottery industry operated by the government-run Korean Lottery Commission. Games include lotto, sports betting, and instant scratch tickets. The lotto games—such as Lotto 6/45 and Lotto 5/45—have huge prize pools, attracting interest from foreign residents and tourists.

So can foreigners play the lotto in South Korea? The quick answer is yes, foreigners can purchase lottery tickets and claim lottery prizes in South Korea. However, there are some restrictions in place depending on the specific lottery game. Keep reading to learn more about the rules for foreigners participating in South Korean lotteries.

Requirements for Foreigners to Play Korean Lotto Games

The main requirements for foreigners to play lotto games in South Korea are:

– Have a valid visa – Tourists and long-term residents with visas can play. Undocumented immigrants cannot play.

– Purchase tickets in person – Tickets must be bought at authorized lottery retailers. Online and phone purchases are not available to foreigners.

– Provide foreign ID – Passports or other foreign IDs are required when buying tickets and claiming prizes as a foreigner.

– Have a Korean bank account – To collect lottery winnings, foreigners need a South Korean bank account in their name. Overseas accounts cannot be used.

– Pay taxes – Lottery winnings are considered income and subject to South Korean taxes. Foreigners must pay the applicable taxes on prizes.

As long as these requirements are met, foreigners can legally play lotteries like Lotto 6/45 and Lotto 5/45 in South Korea. The specific rules may vary for sports betting and instant tickets.

Details on Requirements

Let’s go over the key requirements in more detail:

Have a Valid Visa

Foreigners must have a valid visa for South Korea to legally purchase lottery tickets. This includes tourist visas for short trips and long-term residency visas for expats living in Korea. Undocumented immigrants without legal status cannot play the lotto.

When buying lottery tickets, retailers may ask to see your passport or foreign resident card to verify your visa status. Make sure to carry your ID when purchasing lottery tickets as a foreigner.

Purchase Tickets In Person

Foreigners cannot purchase Korean lottery tickets online, over the phone, or through subscription services. Tickets must be purchased in person at authorized retailers.

Look for lottery retailers marked with “Lotto” signs. Common locations include convenience stores, subway stations, and lottery booths. Retailers will require verification of ID when foreigners buy tickets.

Provide Foreign ID

Unlike Korean citizens who use resident registration numbers, foreigners must provide passport numbers when purchasing lottery tickets.

When claiming lottery prizes as a foreigner, valid foreign identification is required. This includes passports, foreign resident cards, or alien registration cards. A copy of your ID number is kept for tax purposes.

Have a Korean Bank Account

To receive lottery winnings in South Korea, foreigners must have a South Korean bank account under their name. Overseas bank accounts cannot be used due to foreign exchange regulations.

Small prizes can sometimes be claimed in cash. But larger winnings will require a domestic bank account for direct deposit of funds. Open a Korean bank account early on if you plan to play the lottery as a foreigner.

Pay Taxes

There is a misconception that winnings from prizes, gambling, and lotteries are tax-free. However, South Korea taxes all lottery winnings.

As a foreigner, you must pay the applicable South Korean income tax rate on any lottery prizes. This will be automatically deducted for winnings over a certain threshold. Make sure to keep tax obligations in mind when playing the lotto.

Lotto Games Open to Foreigners

The major national lotto games open to foreigners in South Korea are:

Lotto 6/45

– Oldest and most popular lotto game in Korea
– Choose 6 numbers from 1-45
– Minimum jackpot ₩2 billion
– Drawings twice weekly on Wednesday and Saturday
– Tickets cost ₩1,000 each
– Get 5 numbers right to win a share of the jackpot

Lotto 5/45

– Choose 5 numbers from 1-45
– Minimum jackpot ₩300 million
– Drawings 4 times per week on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday
– Tickets cost ₩500 each
– Match all 5 numbers to win the jackpot

Lotto 7/42

– Pick 7 numbers between 1-42
– Minimum jackpot ₩1 billion
– Drawings on the 2nd and 4th Saturday of each month
– Tickets cost ₩1,000
– Hit all 7 numbers to take the jackpot prize

These national lotto games have huge prizes and are open to all foreigners who meet the requirements outlined earlier. You can purchase tickets from any authorized retailer across the country.

Other Lotteries With Restrictions

While major lotto games are open to foreigners, some other Korean lottery products have restrictions:

Local Lotteries

Some provinces, cities, and districts run smaller local lotteries. These are only open to residents of that region, which excludes most foreigners unless you have a long-term visa tied to the locality.

Sports Betting

Sports Toto bets on soccer, baseball, basketball, and more are extremely popular in Korea. However, ID verification requirements may exclude casual foreign tourists who don’t have alien resident cards.

Instant Scratch Tickets

Scratch cards with prizes up to ₩1 million can only be purchased by those with a Korean mobile verification. Thus, most foreigners cannot buy instant lottery tickets.

Check the specific rules if you want to play less common Korean lotteries as a foreigner. The major national lottery games have the most open rules.

Claiming Lottery Prizes as a Foreigner

When good fortune strikes and you win the lottery in South Korea, here is how to claim your prize money as a foreigner:

Validate the Winning Ticket

Bring your winning ticket to a lottery retailer or lottery office. Staff will validate the win and provide a redemption claim form.

Submit Identification

Show your passport, foreign resident card, or alien registration card. Your ID number will be recorded for tax purposes.

Complete Tax Paperwork

Fill out documents required for tax withholding purposes. Lottery winnings are considered taxable income for foreigners.

Provide Bank Account Details

To receive winnings, supply details for your Korean bank account where the funds can be deposited.

Collect Your Prize

With taxes and paperwork taken care of, your lottery prize money can now be deposited into your Korean bank account!

Taxes on Lottery Winnings for Foreigners

South Korea imposes income taxes on all lottery prizes claimed in the country:

Tax Rates

– Prizes up to ₩10 million won – Exempt from taxes
– ₩10-50 million – 20% tax rate
– Over ₩50 million – 30% tax rate

Taxes are automatically withheld when you collect lottery winnings as a foreigner in Korea. Larger prizes have higher taxes.

Tax Processing

A copy of your identification is retained for processing taxes on winnings. Foreigners must submit Korean tax returns reporting lottery income.

Tax Treaties

Some countries have tax treaties with Korea allowing exemption of lottery taxes for foreign residents. Check with your embassy or tax office at home.

Make sure to factor in applicable income taxes when playing the lottery as a foreigner in South Korea. Winning a jackpot still means taking home millions in net prize money!

Where to Purchase Lottery Tickets as a Foreigner

Finding authorized lottery retailers is easy across South Korea. Here are some of the best places for foreigners to conveniently purchase lottery tickets:

Convenience Stores

Convenience stores like CU, 7-Eleven, GS25, and Emart24 all sell lottery tickets. Look for the Korean “Lotto 판매” sign at applicable stores.

Lottery Kiosks

Dedicated lottery booths and kiosks can be found at transportation hubs, shopping areas, and markets. Staff can assist foreigners with buying tickets.

Subway Station Booths

Many subway stations in Seoul and other cities have small booths selling lottery tickets. Easy to find when using public transportation.


Most large supermarkets like Emart and Lotte Mart have lottery booths near the cash registers. Can purchase when doing grocery shopping.

Gas Stations

Some Korean gas stations sell lottery tickets at the register. Check for “Lotto” signs when filling up your car.

With thousands of vendors across the country, finding a lottery retailer is convenient for foreigners residing or traveling in Korea.

The Legality of Foreigners Playing Lotto in Korea

Is it legal for foreigners to play the lottery in South Korea? This is an important question for visitors and expats. Here are the key facts on the legality:

Allowed by Law

Yes, South Korean law does allow foreigners to purchase lottery tickets and claim prizes. There is no blanket ban on foreign participation.

Must Follow Rules

Foreigners must adhere to the identified requirements such as having a visa, supplying foreign ID, paying taxes, etc. As long as the rules are followed, it is legal.

No Online Sales

While Koreans can purchase lottery tickets online, it is illegal to sell online tickets to foreigners. Tickets must be bought in person.

No Agent Purchases

Tickets cannot be purchased through an agent or third-party. Foreigners must buy in person with valid ID presented.

Winnings Are Taxable

South Korea taxes all lottery winnings as income. Foreigners must pay applicable taxes or it is considered tax evasion.

As long as foreigners follow all the regulations identified, playing the lotto in Korea is legal. It is a lawful recreational activity and form of gambling.

Frequently Asked Questions on Lotto for Foreigners

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about foreigners participating in lotteries in South Korea:

Can tourists play the lotto in Korea?

Yes, tourists on temporary visitor visas can legally purchase lottery tickets in South Korea. Proper foreign ID must be presented when buying tickets and claiming prizes.

Can I play online from outside Korea?

No, online lottery ticket sales are only available for South Korean citizens. Foreigners must purchase tickets in person when visiting Korea.

Are winnings taxed for foreign residents?

Yes, there are set income tax rates that apply to lottery prizes for foreign residents. Taxes are automatically deducted from winnings over a threshold.

Can I collect winnings into a foreign bank account?

No, winnings can only be deposited into a South Korean bank account under your name. Overseas accounts cannot be used due to forex regulations.

Do I need an alien resident card to play?

No, passports and other foreign IDs are accepted. But the alien resident card serves as an easy nationwide identification for foreigners when purchasing lottery tickets.

Are there lottery scams targeting foreigners?

Yes, lottery scams do sadly occur. Never provide personal information or fees to collect fake winnings. Only trust official Korean government-run lotteries.

The Popularity of Lottery Games in South Korean Culture

Lotteries are an immensely popular pastime in South Korean culture enjoyed by citizens and foreigners alike. Here’s an overview of how lotto fits into Korean culture:

Long History

Korea has centuries of history with hanju, an old lottery-style game. Modern lottery systems were first introduced in 1969. Lotto games remain popular today as staple leisure activities.

Frequent Players

A 2019 survey showed 67% of Korean adults play the lottery at least once per year. Regular weekly players constitute around 20% of the adult population.

Chasing the Dream

Lotteries represent dreams of instantly becoming rich. Korean culture emphasizes achievement, and lotteries provide opportunity to radically transform one’s socioeconomic status overnight.

Funding Public Causes

Lottery revenue funds government projects focused on public welfare, health, education, infrastructure, sports development, and support for the arts. This increases public acceptance.

Social Experience

Playing the lottery, checking results, and dreaming about jackpots is a shared social experience. Lotteries are frequently discussed in Korean media, social groups, and families.


In summary, foreigners can legally participate in South Korea’s lottery games. However, there are important rules and restrictions to follow pertaining to visas, in-person purchases, identification, taxes, and bank accounts. Major lottery games like Lotto 6/45 are open to foreigners, while some other lottery products have limitations. Lotteries are hugely popular in Korean culture as fun recreational activities and dreams of striking it rich. With the proper knowledge and adherence to regulations, foreigners can take part in experiencing Korea’s lotto excitement.