Gambling, in general, has been an integral part of Japanese culture for centuries, and nowadays it has not changed. The Japanese love to gamble, and one of their most favorite forms of gambling is the Pachinko parlors, but as the technology advances, they are keener to start placing wagers on live casino games.
Technically, the law does not allow any online gambling, so there are no operators currently in Japan offering live casino games to its citizens. However, there are many offshore live casinos that are free to accept players from Japan, and individuals cannot be prosecuted or criminally charged for playing at them.
As long as they find a site that is reputable and licensed in one of the world’s relevant jurisdictions, the players are safe to make deposits and withdrawals, as well as play thousands of live casino games. The government of Japan tries to blacklist these sites, but there is little success so far, as this is a sector that is very difficult to control.
Many of these live casinos are looking to attract as many Japanese players as possible, as the market in the country, and the interest in online gambling grows every day, so players are spoiled when it comes to the choice of live casinos they have, and they can look forward to various bonuses and promotions coming their way.
So, any new player from Japan can feel safe while searching for their favorite offshore live casino, as they won't be subject to prosecution, even though technically, online gambling in the country is considered to be illegal.
History of Gambling in Japan
Japan has a long history when it comes to gambling, just as is the case with its culture and tradition. Gambling is one of the aspects that is embedded in the tradition of the country, and the gambling records of Japan can be found as early as the 7th century. In some historical writings, it is said that the emperor Temmu used to play sugo-roku, which is a game similar to today’s backgammon. His successor, however, banned this game very shortly after getting the throne.
But, in the middle ages, the rise of gambling popularity has been exponential across the territory of Japan. The citizens used to place bets on anything they could, and that trend continued throughout the next period.
The gambling addiction was so bad that during the 1600s and 1700s people that had low and poor social standings would even be charged with the death penalty if they were caught gambling. However, these restrictions were not that effective, and the government passed a bill shortly after that categorized gambling into two types: light and big betting. This meant that only the big bettors would face prosecution.
In the 20th century, Japan started to open itself up to the world, which meant that the rise of other games rather than the standard Japanese was inevitable. Nowadays, land-based gambling in the country is legal, whereas the online forms of it remain unregulated, therefore considered to be also illegal.
Japanese love gambling, especially as technology advances and they have the chance to place their wagers online. This has led to a surge of foreign live casinos that look to attract players from the country, and the Japanese are free to play their favorite live games without fearing any repercussions from the government for doing so.
Gambling Nowadays in Japan
Gambling in Japan has been illegal for a long time, but one step towards full legalization of it is the bill that was passed in 2016, which legalized land-based gambling in the country. However, not everyone will be able to apply for a license, as there 3 areas are designated to have casino facilities in them. The casinos will also be able to hold hotels, restaurants, and shopping malls.
When it comes to online gambling, the market can be considered grey. There is no regulation in place that allows it, so technically it is considered to be an illegal activity. However, nothing stops foreign live casinos from offering their services to Japanese citizens. Japanese gladly access these sites, as there are no penalties in place for them doing so.
Future of Online Casino in Japan
Evidently, Japan is not the dreamland for gamblers. The regulation that covers the gambling activities in the country is very strict and there are only a few designated areas in Japan where land-based gambling is allowed.
When it comes to online gambling, it is not specifically allowed, nor forbidden, but there is no licensed online casino in the country, so it is considered to be illegal. Players from Japan do not have the possibility to play slots, poker, or roulette at any local online casino. Nevertheless, there are countless offshore online gambling sites that are happy to accept players from Japan, as the government does not have an effective system in place to block or blacklist them.
This represents a problem for the Japanese government as they do not have control over the gambling activities of its citizens, and players themselves can be subject to scams. There are many fraudulent sites that are looking to exploit the unregulated market in Japan, and in case of fraud, punters have no authority to turn to.
This is why there is pressure on the Japanese government to legalize online gambling, as it will open up possibilities for employment of more people, and the government is the one that will have total control over the online gambling sector, so it will be a major contributor to the Japanese economy.
All in all, it can be expected that there will be some movement in the right direction in the near future when online gambling is in question, as the first step of total liberalization is already made – land-based gambling is legal now in Japan.
Are Casinos Legal in Japan?
Until recently, the only legal types of gambling in Japan were a lottery, sports, and scratch cards. All other types of gambling were prohibited, and there were strict penalties for breaking the law, which could even see a person jailed for up to 3 years.
However, that situation changed in 2016, when land-based gambling was allowed in the country. Although land-based casinos are allowed in only 3 regions of the country, it is evidently a step forward in the right direction. This sector is expected to grow in the future, as the benefits of having a legal gambling industry will be there to be seen by the Japanese government.
When it comes to online gambling, the situation is a bit more complicated. No law prohibits live casinos, but it is considered to be an illegal activity. However, nothing stops Japanese punters to access international live casinos, as there is not a case yet where an individual was prosecuted for gambling at one of these sites.
The government has a system in place to combat these sites from entering the Japanese market, but they have had little success so far. Recently, they forbid the banks to allow transactions to these sites, but players still have tons of choices when it comes to making deposits and withdrawals (e-Wallets, cryptocurrencies, etc.).
Punters in Japan heavily engage in online gambling, so it is no surprise that they have found a way around the government’s restrictions and they still place wagers on their favorite foreign live casinos. There is a good number of those that are available in the Japanese language, and they offer the Japanese yen as a currency as well.