In a country as oppressive as North Korea, it is hard to imagine they would have casinos filled with North Koreans gambling their hard earned money… that is probably because it don’t.

North Korea has casinos alright, but it is not North Koreans who get to enjoy them.

Talk about stepping on a sore toe. North Koreans have been living amidst casinos since the turn of the 21st century, all the while being denied entry. For the people, these casinos are merely a mirage. Like any hope of living in a country that offers the bare minimum of rights, casinos are just one more luxury being denied.

So, who gets to live it up in style and throw some chips down on casino blackjack? North Korea’s neighbors to the West, the Chinese!

Gambling and prostitution have been illegal in China for many, many moons, and although North Korea is not exactly a land controlled by anarchists where such activities are legal, Chinese Party and Government officials looking for some extracurricular activities need to look no further than North Korea to experience a little bit of excitement.

Due to the country’s draconian standards regarding photography, catching a glimpse of these verboten casinos is incredibly difficult. It is, however, confirmed that at least two do exist: the Pyongyang Casino and Seaview Casino Hotel, with a third or more possibly existing that only true insiders have access to.

Here’s hoping that North Korea’s citizens get to one day enjoy the spoils…


Sun Tzu has spent about 7 years in Asia traveling through Japan, Hong Kong, China, and Korea. A true fan of everything that is weird and strange, he decides in the end what is displayed and published on this site. Sun has previous experience writing for numerous print mags such as XLR8R, URB, and Movement Magazine.