Is gambling legal in Japan?

Date:2024-02-22 Category: Online gambling market

Japan is the land of wonders, and nobody can say otherwise. They do everything their style over there, and that also includes gambling. Until very recently, gambling was strictly forbidden in Japan, but of course, the Japanese found a way around this rule to spend time on their favorite gambling activities. Stay with us in this article to learn if gambling is legal in Japan.

 

The History of Gambling in Japan

Gambling in a casino was first deemed illegal with Japan’s 1907 Chapter 23 criminal code. Actually, lottery betting had existed in this country since the 1600s, but it was disallowed over one hundred years ago. But then, the first national lottery restarted in 1945. After that, various types of sports gambling started entering the country’s culture and rules gradually.

The Japanese started to find ways to circumvent the rules against gambling and find legal forms of gambling.

 

What are the legal forms of gambling in Japan?

Yes, all kinds of gambling were illegal in Japan until 2018, and the country’s first Western-style casino hasn’t been built yet. But that has never stopped Japanese men and women from spending a couple of hours gambling after work. Here are the legal gambling activities you can do in Japan.

 

Pachinko

As I said, the Japanese have everything in their own version. Pachinko is the Japanese form of Slots; thousands are in parlors in Japan. It’s one of the most common forms of gambling in the country. You might ask that Slots is a kind of gambling which is forbidden. There is a solution to every problem! Pachinko parlors do not pay you in cash for your winnings. You might receive a little trinket like a pen or a lighter. You will get a piece of gold if your prize money is large enough. But don’t worry about keeping all those gold pieces, pens, and lighters. There are shops near each Pachinko parlor where you can sell your stuff for cash.

Pachinko

Interesting fact: Pachinko parlors are some of the loudest places in the country. If you ever decide to visit one in Japan, prepare yourself for the incredible din you will face upon entering. So how do the Japanese take it? It looks like the players enter a zen-like mental state in which they are no longer aware of their environment.

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Sports betting

There are four sports in Japan you can bet on. First, horse racing is the most popular gambling activity in Japan. It’s so popular that it generated $27 billion in 2019. People in Japan take classes on how to bet on horse racing and take this activity very seriously. The next sport you can bet on is cycling or Keirin. Keirin looks a little like track cycling matches in Europe, but the specifics are entirely unique to Japan. No limit exists on how much you can gamble on Keirin, and the government heavily supervises the game to prevent cheating. There are 43 velodromes in Japan, and races happen regularly.

Sports betting

Motorboat racing is another exciting event in Japan that attracts 2.4 trillion Yen in yearly betting. Motorboat races happen in 600-meter courses with 6 attendants. And finally, the Japanese can bet on motorcycle racing, although it’s not as popular as Keirin, and there are only 5 tracks across Japan. Motorcycle racing is overseen by the Trade Ministry and generated about 100 billion Yen in 2022.  Another type of sports betting that’s legal and popular in Japan is Toto or soccer racing. You can predict the match’s outcome or bet on the winning team. Gambling tickets for all sporting betting activities can be bought online and in stores nationwide.

 

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Lottery

As mentioned before, lotteries were resumed in Japan in 1945. Today, you can find lottery stands on every street in Japan. The local government controls these lotteries, and all the proceedings are spent on improving the city. The highest amount you can win in a lottery is 400 million Yen, about $4,000,000.

Lottery

Western-style gambling

In 2018, a law called The Act of Development of Specified Complex Tourist Facilities Areas was passed, which made it possible for private companies to operate Western-style casinos. These casinos will be located in an “Integrated Resort” or “IR.” The first integrated resort is planned to be constructed in Osaka by 2029, a response to the growing need within the country and from tourists. After all, Japan needs to keep up with the global trend and allow some flexibility in its gambling rules.

 

Online gambling

The Japanese parliament had a meeting on the legality of online gambling in 2013. According to the result of this meeting, local governments should supervise online gambling, and participants should obtain a permit. This rule includes online casinos operating abroad, which are used by Japanese people on the Japanese Internet.

 

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Mahjong

Japanese law has a general ban on all types of gambling that leads to monetary gain. However, the Japanese are good at circumventing the rules. Mahjong houses all over the country receive an entrance fee that will later be used to reward the winner of the games. However, in 2020, a high-ranking Japanese official was banned from government work and had a salary reduction because of playing Mahjong for money twice a month. There have been other cases of individual punishment for people caught playing the game for large sums of money.

Mahjong

Final words

If you are from Japan or traveling to this country and want to spend your free time gambling, you should know you have many options. You can choose from various gambling-related entertainment, from loud and colorful Puchinco parlors to Mahjong houses and sports gambling. However, the critical point is for you to be able to circumvent the rules against gambling. Yes, gambling is strictly illegal in Japan, at least in the word of law. But the Japanese are creative enough to devise genius plans and help you experience the thrill of betting in a legally safe environment.

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