Japan is the country of the rising sun, samurais and geishas, mangas and anime, bullet trains and capsule hotels. However, it is definitely not the country of online gambling. It is hard for a westerner to grasp the fact that Japanese people have such a conservative attitude to gambling as a form of entertainment. Until recently, all gambling activities with a Western “flavour” have been frowned upon, but the Japan legislators finally approved of the establishment of integrated resorts and started regarding gambling as a potential source of substantial revenue. Now, let’s stop beating around the bush and give a clear-cut answer to the question Is Gambling Legal in Japan?
There are no online casinos holding a Japanese gambling license simply because the Government does not issue such. However, there are many international operators accepting Japanese players and even allowing them to deposit in Yen (¥).
Japan has passed a bill to legalise land-based casinos and these are expected to be up and running no later than 2024. However, if you are planning to play casino games before 2024, here’s a glimpse at the current legislative landscape.
Japanese people have a different notion of casino games as compared to Westerners. It is next to impossible to find legal slot machines or Poker, Roulette, Blackjack or Baccarat tables in Japan. Instead, there are sports betting, takarakuji (lottery), and Pachinko parlors. The Pachinko is the equivalent of a slot machine.
Online Gambling in Japan
The online gambling legislation is not even on the agenda but Japanese players who want to take a break from the Pachinko and lotteries have to look out for international operators accepting Japanese players.
Baccarat and Pai Gow are very popular among Asian players, but Japanese players need to be aware of the deposit and withdrawal obstacles they may encounter. For now people have a limited number of payment methods to choose from. They can deposit via Mastercard, Visa, bitcoin, litecoin. One of the biggest e-wallets – Skrill, is not available in Japan, but Neteller, ecopayZ, and entropay are all viable options.
If the casino does not accept payments in Yen, a currency conversion will be applied and the player might be charged a fee for that.
Japanese Online Gambling Market Infographic:
Land-Based Casinos in Japan
Japanese people seem reluctant to accept the Western model of gambling. It is safe to say that Mahjong and Pachinko are more popular than Texas Hold’em and Immersive Roulette.
Still, the nation has opened up for the classic casino games and back in 2016, Japanese lawmakers gave the nod to the establishment of land-based casino venues. What prompted the decision was Japan’s ambition to get a piece of the lucrative gambling market. Right now Asian high rollers play at Macau or Singapore casinos.
If analysts’ predictions are met, Japan could generate $40bn yearly revenue once all 12 casinos are up and running. Expectations were the casinos to welcome its first players by 2020 when the Olympics take place in Tokyo and the international tourist arrivals may hit new record high, but more or less reliable sources put forward 2024 as a more realistic year of opening.
Until then, the Japanese legislators need to find the right approach to allaying the fears that the casino resorts will be “tools” for money laundering and they will also lead to social problems and increased crime rate.
Online gambling in Japan is a shady area. We always recommend our readers to double-check if the casino they have eyed is listed at CorrectCasinos as trustworthy and do get fooled by seemingly lucrative bonus offers tailored to destroy their bankroll.