Online Gambling in Japan

Gambling is generally illegal in Japan, with the exception of certain types of betting such as horse racing, boat racing, and certain types of lottery. However, online gambling is not specifically mentioned in Japanese law, so it is not clear whether it is legal or not. While it is possible to access online gambling sites from Japan, it is not legal for these sites to operate within the country.

Although online gambling is technically illegal, that has not deterred Japanese people from visiting casino sites and placing their bets there. Government authorities regulate online gambling in Japan. Unlike gambling in other countries, Japan has put in rules and regulations to govern the gambling industry. It is legal to place bets in the following activities in Japan:

  • Horse racing – Japan has a variety of racecourses where you can attend and place a bet on your favorite horse. The Tokyo Racecourse is the most famous venue.
  • Bicycle racing – Keirin is where you bet on the outcome of a nine-person bicycle race.
  • Powerboat racing
  • Motorcycle race
  • Football – You can bet across all levels of competition under the Japanese Football Association.
  • Pachinko machines

Until October 2022, online gambling laws in Japan focused on the operator and not the individual gamblers. Therefore, you would not find any independent companies offering real money gambling services, either land-based or online. Instead, the following companies regulate gambling activities in Japan.

Japanese Racing Association

The organization oversees all gambling in Japan’s racing activities.  It operates under the pari-mutuel betting system, where the final bonus is decided when the pot is closed.

The Japanese Lottery

If you want to purchase a lottery ticket online in japan, proceed to the local government website closest to you.

Does Japan allow online gambling?

No, Japan does not allow online gambling. Gambling is generally prohibited in Japan, with the exception of a few specific activities such as betting on horse races and certain types of lottery games. It is not legal to offer online gambling services in Japan.

The Japanese Lottery

October 2022: Japanese Police and Regulators Declare Gambling at Offshore Online Casinos a Crime

In Japan, gambling is generally prohibited, with the exception of a few specific activities such as betting on horse races and certain types of lottery games. The use of offshore online gambling sites, or sites that are based outside of Japan and offer gambling services to people in Japan, is illegal.

On Monday, January 24th, 2022, the Japanese National Police Agency and the Consumer Affairs Agency released a warning reminding people of this fact and stating that using these offshore online gambling sites is a criminal offense. The warning made it clear that even if the site is legally operated overseas, it is illegal to connect to it from within Japan and gamble on it.

The warning also provided examples of individuals who had been arrested for using online casinos.

In one example, a person who connected to an online casino site from their own home computer and played against a dealer on the website was arrested for a gambling-related crime.Another showcase features a person who gave another Japanese citizen access to a gambling platform on a foreign server, allowing the individual to wager from within the country.

The said perpetrator was arrested for the offense of habitual betting. Both the individual who provided access and the user who placed bets were also arrested for gambling-related crimes.

Gambling-related crimes attract a prison term of up to 3 years or a fine of less than ¥500,000. The NPA reported making 18 arrests in 2019, 16 in 2020, and 16 in 2021 for online gambling crimes. These arrests were all made at gambling establishments.

Japan Online Casino Market

The online casino market in Japan is not yet fully developed, as gambling is heavily regulated in the country and only certain types of gambling are legal. However, the market is expected to grow in the coming years as the government has been considering the legalization of certain forms of online gambling, such as sports betting and lottery games.

In the meantime, Japanese residents can access offshore online casinos, which are not regulated by the Japanese government but are legal to use. It is important to note that it is illegal for Japanese banks to process transactions with offshore online casinos, so players must use alternative methods such as e-wallets or prepaid cards to fund their accounts.

Sports betting on legal activities such as horse racing, soccer, motorbike racing, and motorboat racing are popular in Japan among both avid gamblers and casual viewers. In addition to these sports, the country also has a thriving gambling industry centered around Pachinko, a game played on electronic booths that combines elements of arcade games and pinball machines.

Players release ball bearings onto a vertical play wall and try to navigate them through obstacles to capture more balls, which can then be exchanged for prizes or cash. While Pachinko is considered a skilled game and therefore legal, there is still an element of luck involved, which some have argued makes it more similar to slot games.

Finally, the mobile betting market, including betting apps, is also popular in Japan despite being technically illegal. Gamers can download games to their mobile devices and win money by playing.

The gambling industry in Japan generates around 4% of the country’s GDP and employs over 300,000 people. Pachinko is a popular game in Japan and is featured on many online gambling sites, which purchase authentic designs from the country generating over 30 trillion JPY.

The online gambling industry has been a significant employer in Japan for over 60 years, with Pachinko parlors, the national lottery, and sports betting venues among the top employers. Japan receives over 30 million tourists annually, many of whom are attracted by the well-designed, detailed Japanese-themed online gambling games. As a result, online gambling, which generates significant foreign exchange, should essentially be legal in Japan.

The Numbers Don’t Lie

The Japan online casino market is among the most lucrative in the gambling industry. Below are a few statistics to verify this claim:

  • Most operators now offer exclusive services for the Japan online casino market. The increasing interest is an indication of the revenues they anticipate.
  • A Japanese gambler spends up to ¥ 30,000 or $263.16 per gambling session. The figure is higher than the global average of $261 or ¥ 29,754.
  • The Japan online casino market contributes over ¥ 30 trillion in annual gross domestic product to the country.
  • The government is slowly flexing its grip on gambling. Reports indicate that it will allow land-based operators provided they meet the requirements.
  • Japan is the leader in online gambling technology. For example, the first mobile-based gambling platforms started their operations in Japan.
  • Arguably, the Japan casino market is the third-largest in the industry. Currently, the US market ranks first, with Macau taking second place.

Japanese Gambling Law Overview

In 2016, Japan’s legislature passed a bill that would allow for the legalization of casino facilities in the country. Currently, gambling is illegal in Japan with the exception of a few specific activities such as horse racing and certain types of lottery games. The country’s laws regarding gambling are confusing to outsiders, as there is a large “pachinko” industry but other forms of gambling are not legalized.

Some of Japan’s gambling laws are quite old and do not reflect modern society. Initially, only horse and bicycle racing were legal forms of betting, but boat racing and motor biking were later added to the list of “Public Sports,” which are the only legal forms of gambling in the country.

Evolving Gambling Legal Landscape

Gambling is illegal in Japan according to Article 185 of the Penal Code. This article also outlines the punishments for betting on events determined by chance or accident. Even if only a part of a game’s outcome is based on chance or accident, it is still considered gambling and therefore prohibited in Japan.

Japanese Gambling Law Overview

 It is also a crime to operate a gambling house in Japan. However, there are four sports that are legal under special laws: bicycle racing, motorcycle racing, horse racing, and powerboat racing. These sports are regulated by local governments or government corporations.

The public lottery and Japanese Soccer Pools are also exceptions to the ban on gambling in Japan. To operate any of the legal gambling activities, a license is required, which can only be obtained by local governments or government-related entities.

Horse racing in Japan is mainly run by the Japan Racing Association, while 24 additional tracks are run by local governments. The lottery has been legalized and can be played at designated booths, with Toto being the only legally licensed online gambling portal. Pachinko, which is not regulated by the government but is similar to other forms of gambling, is a popular game among Japanese citizens. Bicycle racing has been a popular sport in Japan since after World War II. There are currently no legal casinos in Japan, though the possibility of legalizing them has been discussed.

Online Gambling Law in Japan

Again, the Japanese government permits online betting for certain activities such as the lottery, soccer toto, and public sports. These are the only types of online betting that are currently legal in Japan. Japanese players cannot access online casino games, including web-based poker and bingo games, except through the websites of foreign operators. Mobile gaming websites are also illegal for gambling purposes in Japan.

Is Ggpoker legal in Japan?

It is not currently legal for online gambling platforms like GG Poker to operate in Japan, as the Japanese government heavily regulates gambling and only allows certain types of gambling activities. Online gambling, including poker, is not currently legal in Japan.

However, Japanese residents are able to access offshore online gambling platforms, such as GG Poker, which are not regulated by the Japanese government.

It is important to note that it is illegal for Japanese banks to process transactions with offshore online gambling platforms, so players must use alternative methods, such as e-wallets or prepaid cards, to fund their accounts. It is always important to be aware of and follow the laws and regulations in your jurisdiction when participating in online gambling.

About GG Poker

GG Poker is a popular online poker platform that is owned and operated by the Good Game Network. The platform offers a variety of poker games, including Texas Hold’em, Omaha, and Seven Card Stud, as well as various tournaments and other events. GG Poker is known for its user-friendly interface and wide range of features, such as hand histories, player stats, and customizable avatars. It is available to players in a number of countries around the world, although some regions may have stricter regulations on online gambling. It is always important to be aware of and follow the laws and regulations in your jurisdiction when participating in online gambling.

Is online gambling legal in japan?

Online gambling is not legal in Japan, with the exception of certain online lottery games and online horse, boat, and bicycle racing, which are all regulated by the government. It is illegal to operate an online gambling business in Japan, and it is also illegal to participate in online gambling as a player, with some exceptions for certain specific activities that are permitted under Japanese law. If you are considering participating in online gambling while in Japan, it is important to be aware of the legal risks and to consider whether it is worth taking those risks in order to engage in this activity.

Are there any online casinos in japan?

Yes, online casinos are available in Japan, although the Japanese government has strict regulations in place regarding gambling. Online gambling is illegal in Japan, but there are some exceptions, such as betting on horse racing and certain types of lottery games.

However, it is possible for Japanese residents to access international online casinos, which are not subject to Japanese laws. It is important to note that it is illegal for Japanese banks to process transactions with international online casinos, so players will need to use alternative payment methods to fund their accounts.

It is worth noting that while it is now illegal for Japanese residents to participate in online gambling at international casinos. It is also illegal for operators to offer their services to Japanese players. In fact, the Police have reported arresting online casino users numbering more than 15.

As such, players should be cautious when choosing an online casino, as some may not be reputable or may not adhere to fair gaming practices.

How to Choose the Best Japanese Online Casinos

Below are some of the criteria used when you want to select a good online gambling site in Japan:

Check the licensing

We highly suggest that Japanese gamblers should sign up and play at online casinos that are duly licensed and regulated by respected bodies. They include the following casino licensing authorities:

  • Malta Gaming Authority (MGA)
  • United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC)
  • Macau
  • Alderney

Research the online casino’s operations in Japan

Casino review sites are your best source for this information. These employ strict review metrics when appraising an online casino. Therefore, you can take their opinion as legit. Other sources you can use are:

Check online casino’s customer feedback page

  • Online gambling forums
  • Online gambling social media pages

Check whether you meet the online casino’s user requirements for the Japanese market.

You should prioritize the following:

  • You have a compatible payment method
  • Extra user verification steps
  • The regulation on online casino winnings

Online casinos in Japan

Online gambling is illegal in Japan, with the exception of state-owned and state-operated lotteries. The government has strict regulations in place to prevent the operation of unauthorized gambling sites within the country. In addition, it is illegal for Japanese citizens to participate in online gambling activities on foreign sites. It is possible that the laws surrounding online gambling in Japan may change in the future, but as of now, online casinos are not legal in Japan.

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