September 30, 2022

ONLINE GAMBLING IN JAPAN: LAWS AND REGULATIONS

For a very long time, most forms of gambling were illegal in Japan. Players thus had to make do with the few options available, including lottery tickets and Pachinko. But this was back in the 20th century when most regions were also debating whether gambling was good or bad. Towards the end of the first decade of the 21st century, many stakeholders in Japan saw it fit to align with the changing tides. More countries were now legalizing gambling, and it was only fitting that Japanese people also have a chance to place wagers. Along this line of thinking, they legalized casinos, but these were physical casinos.

Interestingly, they did not touch on online gambling and left this sector in the grey area. So, you are probably wondering if you can play online casinos and if you can find any online casinos Japan you can trust. Here is the long and short of it:

Can You Gamble Online? 

In 2018, the authorities altered the law to allow casino gambling in the country. Before then, participating in such activities would have violated the law. Even so, the legality only pointed to the integration of physical casinos in the region. And based on several concerns raised by stakeholders, including gambling addiction and criminal activities, this process has been relatively slow.

But can players gamble online? Yes, you can play in online casinos as no law explicitly states that online gambling is illegal. Thus, you would not be breaking any law and would not risk getting arrested, penalized, or worse. The laws cater to companies and do not target individuals.

What Casino Sites Can You Use? 

The current Japanese gambling regulations do not allow local companies to offer betting services. And that means you will not find sites based in Japan. Even so, you can always access a wide range of other casinos that accept online players from Japan and still get in on different bonuses and promotions.

How About Sports Betting?

The Japanese laws allow punters to bet on momentary entertainment and this bundles in sports bets. That makes it quite easy for players to bet on:

  • Bicycle races,
  • Horse races,
  • Powerboat races, and
  • Speedway motorcycle races.

Of course, thanks to the loophole in the betting laws, punters can also participate in other sports bets worldwide by using foreign betting sites.

The Grey Area

We mentioned that Japanese gambling laws are a bit of a grey area. Why is that? Besides being quite opaque regarding the legality of online gambling and banning local companies from offering betting services, they allow some companies to operate. Yes, some Japanese corporations can still operate within Japan and accept Japanese players as they have licenses to do so. These are the Japanese Racing Association and the Japanese Lottery. If you wish to participate in their activities, you can do so, and neither you nor the company would be breaking any laws. For example, many Japanese sports punters rely on the Racing Association to accept and pay out their wagers. But before using the site, you must register as a member, which may not augur well with players who want to remain anonymous. Players who like playing Pachinko can also do so in one of the many parlours in the country. But if you wish to participate in more games, going online is your best bet.

While the Japanese gambling laws may be somewhat confusing, the legality or illegality of playing online games mainly affects companies. And players are thus free to choose if they want to gamble and where they want to place their stakes.

 

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