Japanese Gambling

7+ Important Things about Japanese Gambling: Legal or Illegal?

If there’s one thing you can count on in Japan, it’s that it has booming japanese gambling. Despite the country’s strict gambling laws, this is the case.

Although most forms of gambling are prohibited in Japan, there are a few exceptions. You’ve probably heard of pachinko, but have you heard of keirin, kyoutei, or toto?.

To learn more about gambling in Japan, read our introductory guide.

The History of Gambling in Japan

The first recorded reference to gambling in Japan dates from around 635 AD, which is relatively recent in comparison to India and China. The game of sugo-roku (double sixes), which the nation’s ruler, Emperor Temmu, enjoys, is mentioned. 

However, not everyone in the family was happy with the decision. When his daughter Empress Jito took over the throne, she effectively banned the sport.

Gambling became widespread over the next two centuries, with people betting fervently on cockfights, horse races, and cricket fights (the insect, not the sport!). 

Bakuto, or professional gamblers, were the forerunners of the modern-day yakuza. They would hustle a living by traveling from town to town with their cards and dice.

Cho-han is a popular Japanese betting game. With two dice, a shirtless dealer sits in the kneeling position. 

Either cho (even) or han (odd) is a safe bet (odd). That is all there is to it. Pachinko is a popular Japanese game that is also one of the few gambling games that are legal in Japan today.

Japanese Gambling Overview

Many working men and women gamble after work – it’s a hugely popular pastime for both individuals and society. The Japanese are primarily interested in sports betting, with horse racing being the most popular.

That isn’t to say that other casino-style games aren’t popular; in fact, there are a few gambling possibilities different to this exotic island nation.

1. The Gambling Culture in Japan

Of course, online gambling has grown in popularity in the United Kingdom, as it has in many other countries around the world.

Players join online casinos because they can get bigger bonuses and have a better chance of winning. There are even websites dedicated to guiding curious visitors through the vast array of online Japanese casinos. Gambling on mobile has grown in popularity in Japan as a subset of internet gaming.

Let’s focus on the games unique to the Land of the Rising Sun, rather than a general overview of Japanese gambling and casino culture. 

Pachinko may be familiar to you, but do you know how it works? What other forms of entertainment can you expect to try your hand at while in Japan?.

As previously stated, this type of game is Japan’s most popular gaming activity. Pachinko’s fame extends beyond the country’s borders, and fans of Japanese culture frequently visit. But how does it work in practice?

Well, it’s unsettlingly similar to traditional slot machines. To avoid problematic levels of play, most games are low-stakes. 

Pachinko games, unlike Western slots, will offer extra balls instead of spins. Your in-game winnings are converted into more balls or other bonus game features.

2. The Pachinko

As previously stated, this type of game is Japan’s most popular gaming activity. Pachinko’s fame extends beyond the country’s borders, and fans of Japanese culture frequently visit. But how does it work in practice?

It’s eerily similar to traditional slot machines. To avoid problematic levels of play in Japanese gambling, most games are low-stakes. 

Pachinko games, unlike Western slots, will offer extra balls instead of spins. Your in-game winnings are converted into more balls or other bonus game features.

While cash prizes are prohibited in Japan, you can exchange your winnings for prizes such as cigarettes, chocolate bars, pencils, lighters, and other items. 

Pachinko games today use LCD technology and include musical scores as well as kaleidoscopic screens. The popularity of the game is reflected in the size of many pachinko parlors.

3. The Assaults on The Sense

If you’re thinking about trying your hand at pachinko, be cautious. Many places still allow smoking, and the ventilation in some places is inadequate. 

Even if smoking is prohibited, nothing prepares you for the auditory and visual assault that awaits you inside one of these gaming dens.

The sheer number of gaming machines (dozens, if not hundreds) can be deafening. 

When playing pachinko, locals are said to be able to enter a meditative, zen-like state. That has to be correct. It’s the only way I can see them surviving the sensory deprivation!.

4. Horse Racing

Horse racing is probably the most popular gambling sport in Japan. It’s a down-to-earth affair here, with the emphasis on betting rather than the opulence of ‘the sport of kings,’ as horse racing is known in other countries. Those who want to be race winners can even take classes on how to bet on races.

Horse racing betting generated $27 billion in revenue in 2019, and if you ever get the chance to attend a meeting, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

5. Keirin – The Cycle Racing

Because Japan has a large bookmaking industry, it’s no surprise that there is an all-Japanese sporting event where bets can be placed. Keirin is a type of bicycle racing. While there are only a few velodromes dedicated to it, betting is a popular pastime.

Although the sport is traditionally thought to be a male-dominated sport, female racers have begun to appear in recent years, broadening the betting options. Furthermore, Keirin has crossed the border, with South Korea’s first dedicated velodrome having recently opened.

6. Kyoutei – The Powerboat Racing

Because it involves powerboat races, Kyoutei is the origin of Nihon betting. The six competing boats must race around two buoys over a 300-meter course. 

It’s worth noting that men and women have competed in teams since the beginning of the competition. Kyoutei, like Keirin, has begun to gain popularity in neighboring Korea.

7. Sports Shinko Kuji (a.k.a Toto – Soccer Betting)

To return to the basics, a ‘toto’ is a type of soccer betting. Punters can bet on the winning team or the exact result of a match. Sports Players can purchase tickets both online and in designated stores, making Shinko Kuji a bridge between physical and online gambling.

8. Japan’s Gambling Dynamic

It is clear that games of chance have a sizable following in Japan gambling allowed. Furthermore, they are not solely of foreign origin; many of the activities that Japanese gamblers participate in are indigenous to the country.

That isn’t to say that the activities have no fans outside of South Korea; at least two of the major sports competitions have been imported for betting. 

Furthermore, pachinko is well-known in the Western world, and some fans of Japanese culture use smartphone apps to play the game.

The gambling scene in Japan is as vibrant as other cultural aspects that attract visitors from all over the world.

The Regulation of Japanese Gambling

The Japanese government decided to make some changes to the gambling laws in 2018, making some games legal and age requirements. 

However, it will be some time before casinos are accepted in Japan. You can all have fun playing Pachinko until then. In Japan, it is the most popular casino game. However, it isn’t a true casino game in the legal context.

Those who enjoy gambling but are unable to do so in Japan may wish to try pachinko. This is a one-of-a-kind way to satisfy your gambling desire. 

Pachinko is named after the sound of a mechanical device called a pinball. It’s a cross of contemporary slot machines and a gallery game.

Gambling is prohibited in Japan, and Pachinko games do not provide direct cash rewards, so this game is not classified as a casino game. While this may appear to be pointless, the balls you win can legally be exchanged for special tokens. These tokens are then sold for money, and that’s all there is to it! You’ve won the pachinko game.

The gambling industry in Japan has become synonymous with honor and discipline, so it’s no surprise that the market has been volatile. 

Fortunately, gambling regulations in Japan have changed dramatically. Casinos may eventually be made available to the general public, a market already filled by the game pachinko.

The Comparison to Other Markets

Japan’s gambling market is fairly standard when compared to its neighbors. Regulations governing both online and land-based casino activities are generally strict in other parts of East Asia. Casinos are largely prohibited in this region.

Various types of race bets – which tend to provide a more general form of entertainment to the public, as well as providing opportunities for tourism from abroad – are excluded, as are many other Asian markets.

One of the most intriguing aspects of the Japanese gambling market is that, despite its restrictions, it has created plenty of fictional works. Various films, games, and manga from the country depict both legal and illegal gambling activities.

Many of these stories are similar to gambling or Yakuza news. This isn’t surprising, given the Yakuza’s history of operating illegal casinos across the country. Classic table games, as well as Mahjong, are usually available at these establishments.In the end, that is our Japanese gambling overview. Hopefully, it will be useful for you about that culture, games, and even the regulation.

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