When we talk about Japan and gambling, some of you might wonder, is online gambling legal in Japan?. Well, the Criminal Code chapter 23 prohibits the majority of forms of gambling in Japan.
There are a few exceptions, including horse racing betting and certain motorsports. Public sports, lotteries, and toto (football pools) are held under special laws to raise revenue for national and local governments while also providing entertainment.
Casino operators have been bidding for three legal licenses to operate an integrated casino resort in Japan since 2018, with locations in Osaka, Tokyo, and Yokohama.
The Casino Administration Committee was established by the Japanese government in 2020 to oversee and manage Japan’s resort operators. In Japan, a number of fictional franchises revolve around gambling.
Is Online Gambling Legal in Japan?
In Japan, the Yakuza are known to run illegal casinos. Mahjong can be played for money in addition to traditional casino games, and many mahjong parlors have ties with the Yakuza to help collect debt from defaulting players.
Mobile gambling sites provide another option for illegal gambling. Japanese gamblers can play rock-paper-scissors and win cash at these sites. The owner of one of these sites was arrested in 2010 and admitted to earning more than $1 million.
The players spent $315 on betting tickets. If they won three times in a row, they would receive $1,000, and if they won five times in a row, they would receive $10,000.
1. The Efforts to Legalized
Within Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) government, there have been calls to open casinos in order to boost tourism. Operating casinos is still illegal in Japan, and sumo wrestlers’ recent sports betting on baseball has sparked a scandal.
Former mayor Ishihara proposed building casinos in Odaiba in 2000, but despite widespread public support, the plan was not fully approved.
One of the arguments against the developments was that the Japanese would be too prone to addiction because they were not used to gambling.
The establishment of floating casinos is another option for the expansion of Japan’s casino industry. Ishihara has also been a vocal supporter of the concept of boat gambling. In 2015, lawmakers in Japan submitted the Integrated Resort (IR) Enabling Act to the Diet, reviving casino legislation in the country.
2. Legalization and Bidding
In July 2018, Japanese lawmakers passed a bill allowing casinos to operate legally in the country. In three different locations, three casinos in the form of integrated resorts (IRs) will be built.
The IRs will come with conditions, such as allowing Japanese residents to visit casinos only three times per week or ten times per month. To discourage addiction, Japanese visitors will be charged a 6,000 yen entrance fee.
Las Vegas Sands, Wynn Resorts, MGM Resorts, Melco Resorts, and Genting Singapore are among the five companies that applied for an Osaka integrated casino resort license.
The Games which Have Been Legalized
These are some games that have been legal to play in Japan.
1. Public Sports
Public sports are races that are open to the public and can be legally bet on. Horse racing, bicycle racing, powerboat racing, and asphalt speedway motorcycle racing are the four types. Special laws permit them, and local governments or governmental corporations regulate them.
Parimutuel betting is used in all four types. In these races, the prize pool for gamblers is 70-80 percent of total sales. In many cities, betting tickets are available at a variety of circuits and ticket booths (off-track betting).
2. Lottery (Takarakuji)
Unique number lotteries, selected number lotteries, and scratch cards are the three main types of lotteries. The top cash prizes are usually 100 million yen or more, and each lottery ticket costs between 100 and 500 yen.
According to the takarakuji law, the total prize pool for any given lottery must be less than 50% of total sales, with the remainder going to local government organizations and charities.
Takarakuji tickets can be purchased at takarakuji booths and stores across the country, with some locations becoming particularly popular. At some ATMs, tickets for specific lottery numbers can also be purchased.
Pachinko is a slot machine that looks like a pinball machine. Pachinko is officially not considered gambling because, due to historical, monetary, and cultural reasons, Japanese law considers it to be an exception to the criminal code on gambling.
Pachinko parlors are operated by private companies and can be found all over Japan. There are approximately 12,480 pachinko parlors in Japan as of 2011.
Then, is online gambling legal in Japan? The answer, it was illegal but now is legal. However, people can only play a few games that are allowed by the government.