The liberalization of gambling in Japan appears to be slowly creeping forward.
Most forms of gambling are illegal here under the Japanese Penal Code but there have been discussions of opening up the market to casino gambling.
In particular, Tokyo and Osaka are being targeted for casino operations in order to raise funds for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
Unfortunately for proponents of gambling in Japan, the issue of expanded gambling has reached a stalemate.
Those who want to see expanded gambling in the Land of the Rising Sun will need to wait a little longer as the political battle of wills heats up.
In the meantime, the legal Japanese gambling market is limited to horse racing, some motor sports, lottery, mahjong, and the ever-popular pachinko machines. There are well over 12,000 pachinko parlors in Japan.
It is no secret that the infamous Yakuza is deeply-rooted in illegal gambling in Japan.
There is reportedly an abundance of Yakuza-run illegal casinos operating throughout Japan and it is estimated that a small establishment can net up to $20 million per year.
Police continue to raid these illegal businesses but it seems that for every club that is shut down, a new one opens up.
It is certain that if Japanese gambling laws are changed to accommodate legalized gambling, this market would immediately be one of the biggest legal gambling markets in the world.
Many feel that the vast amounts of money that the government is missing out on will soon be too tempting for them to pass up.
Top 10 Gambling Sites for Japan
What are the Best Japanese Gambling Sites and Promotions?
Even though online gambling is considered illegal under the Japanese Penal Code, Japanese authorities take a lenient approach by not blocking foreign gambling sites. Players who use these sites are not prosecuted which makes Japanese online casino players quite happy.
Many of the biggest and most trusted names in online betting are actively taking bets from Japanese residents. These online casinos also offer players many valuable bonuses that are easy to collect. 5 Dimes will give Japanese online casino players $50 in bonuses while LSbet, Intertops, Casino Mate, and Betclic are offering $100 in casino bonuses.
TitanBet and BetMotion are all top-rated casinos and they each have €100 for you to play with. Play Grand Casino will make you feel like you hit the jackpot with their incredible casino bonus package valued up to $10,000.
Japanese poker fans have something to cheer about too. Bwin, TonyBet and online poker giant Party Poker are all raising the stakes with their €500 in bonuses. Red Kings and RedBet are among the highest-rated poker sites and they are giving away up to €2,500 in poker bonuses.
How Regulated is the Japanese Gambling Market?
All forms of legal betting in Japan are tightly controlled. Even pachinko, which doesn’t qualify as gambling, is a heavily regulated industry that requires licensing and close oversight. There is a thriving underground betting market that is mainly controlled by the Yakuza and the police appear to be fighting back against these establishments although it looks like a losing battle.
Online gambling is illegal but the authorities do not interfere with these activities. Online gaming companies are not blocked and players are not penalized.
Is Gambling Legal in Japan? What is the Legal Age?
Only a few forms of gambling are legal here. Pachinko is allowed because it is not considered gambling but pachinko arcades are still licensed and regulated. Horse racing, mahjong, some motor sports, and lotteries are legal, licensed, and regulated.
Online betting is illegal but the laws do not appear to be enforced on operators or players. The legal age to participate in pachinko and other forms of legal gambling is 18 with the exception of lotteries which have no age limitations.
Does Japan Tax Gambling Winnings?
Japan does not impose a tax on winnings unless you are considered a professional gambler. In that case, profits must be claimed as income.
What Currency and Payment Options do Japanese Players Generally Use?
The official currency of Japan is the Yen. It is accepted almost everywhere and is sometimes offered as a currency option at online gaming sites. For players looking for payment methods for online gaming sites, the use of eWallets like Neteller, Skrill, and WebMoney are recommended.
While major credit cards are a commonly accepted option in other parts of the world, many Japanese gamers will have their credit card transactions declined due to Japanese banking rules. These banking rules also make bank wire transfers hard. Click2Pay and EntroPay are also recommended and widely accepted. Check with your preferred online gaming site to find out what methods are accepted.