Japanese gambling laws - what you need to know

Most forms of gambling in Japan are generally prohibited by Chapter 23 of the Criminal Code; however, there are several exceptions, including betting on horseback. Lottery · Pachinko · Illegal Gambling · Casinos. Most gambling is illegal in Japan, but there are exceptions. Betting on some sports such as horse racing and certain motorsports is allowed, and football pools known as “toto” and lottery are allowed by special laws.

Japan's Strict Gambling Regulations and Laws Mean No Casino Has Been Allowed to Operate on Japanese Soil. However, it seems that this is about to change. Gambling has been a taboo subject in Japanese society and, since 1907, most forms of gambling, including casinos, have been illegal. However, there are many forms of legal gambling in Japan, such as Pachinko, Lottery and certain types of sports betting.

Gambling in Japan has been strictly prohibited and regulated since Chapter 23 of the Penal Code, also known as Law No. 45 of the Penal Code of Japan, explicitly prohibited organized gambling or private sale of lottery tickets, with heavy fines in yen and imprisonment as a deterrent. Before they can do so, Japan will have to lift the ban on gambling, which is currently illegal in most forms. For legal purposes, pachinko machines are technically considered “games”.

Since the gaming license is a privilege, the licensed operator must have high standards of ethics and integrity, and must take the necessary measures to ensure responsible gambling, the protection of minors, the fight against money laundering and other public interest policies. Although pachinko is profitable and illegal, a legalized market would definitely make all areas of gambling and mobile betting in Japan more lucrative. Pachinko is an exclusively Japanese hybrid of a slot machine, a pinball machine and any video game that suits your tastes at the time. For example, social gaming activities or skill games could also be considered momentary entertainment.

Online gambling is illegal in Japan, although players can easily avoid it by using online casinos abroad with servers hosted in other countries. In addition, considering that money lending could accelerate gambling problems, access to money lending is only available to (a) customers who have the financial ability to deposit with the casino business operator cash in excess of 10 million yen, and (b) non-resident foreign customers. An investigation by the Japanese government revealed that illegal baseball betting was just the tip of the iceberg. The country is taking a long time to discover all the new Japanese gambling regulations that will govern the new casinos.

Although there are just under 9,000 Mahjong rooms in the country, it is not part of the list of government-sanctioned games that allow real money gambling. The IRs will come with restrictions and the Japanese will only be able to visit the casinos three times a week or ten times a month. However, the reality of traditional casinos reaching the Japanese landscape has not yet been manifested. For example, once government and citizens see that regulated casinos can generate revenue without causing an increase in gambling addiction, Japan is likely to create laws on online casinos.

Despised by politicians and feared by the masses, the average Japanese would rather not recognize their existence. As a tourist, you should be aware that gambling laws are stricter here than in most countries you have visited, so it is important to fully understand the laws. All pachinko prizes must be some kind of merchandise to avoid being banned by Japanese gambling regulations. The first exception is the state-sponsored sports betting website of the Japan Racing Association (JRA).


Makayla Henegan
Makayla Henegan

Typical gamer. Hardcore twitter ninja. Unapologetic food ninja. Amateur tv geek. Avid social media nerd.

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