When it comes to online gambling, every country has its own specific way of doing things. One market that has remained untapped, for the most part, is that of Japan.
The country has remained surprisingly resistant to the idea of online betting and even the land-based scene is practically non-existent. While the government organizes some forms of gambling, these are extremely limited and only cover a handful of events.
For years, discussions have been taking place regarding the liberalization of the gambling scene in the country, though little has been achieved overall. In fact, much of the legislation surrounding gambling – in all its forms – is quite draconian and leaves little room for bettors to engage in their preferred activities.
Japan’s Online Gambling Scene
Internet gambling in Japan is outright banned, for the most part. The law states that casino gaming, poker, bingo and roulette in Japan, are illegal when done on the Internet.
So far, the Japanese government has only allowed a handful of ‘socially acceptable’ types of gambling to take place online. This includes betting on horse, motorcycle, motorboat, and bicycle races, as well as, taking part in lotteries. However, these forms of betting are run by the authorities and no private enterprises exist to develop a competitive market. Moreover, the permitted forms of online betting are only tolerated because they are already available at land-based establishments, with the online access seen as a convenience rather than an industry in itself.
However, just because something is illegal does not stop the demand for it, nor third parties from trying to fulfill prospective customers’ wishes. The Japanese government has made hosting online gambling operations on the country’s soil illegal and a criminal offense. But in the era of the Internet borders mean precious little and the laws have not stopped determined gamblers to still access foreign betting platforms. Currently, there are websites like www.tozaicasino.com that are more than willing to accept Japanese customers. There is practically nothing that the Japanese government can do about it, accept cracking down on the bettors themselves. While operators may not face any punishment for their activities, their customers may not be so lucky.
Currently, the online betting scene is not at all hospitable to Japanese gamblers. On one hand, they face repercussions from the government, with the possibility of being charged with the crime of illegal gambling. On the other, placing bets at a non-regulated platform can be risky, since there is no government entity to hold the operator accountable. In short, those craving proper online sports betting and casino gaming are left in the dust, with no reasonable avenue to get what they want.
Legalization – a Long Way Off
Given the current state of Japan’s gambling market, it could take an illogical amount of time before the true legalization of online betting is introduced. This is a problem for land-based gambling, as well. As of the time of this writing, no forms of betting are legal in Japan, aside from the social sports and lotteries mentioned above. It is often the case that a land-based scene is developed, with online betting following after. However, there is no such scene in Japan.
Only recently has the government approached the topic of permitting land-based gambling venues and regulating them by an appointed institution. While there are plans that are optimistic, they are still in the crib, as far as development is concerned. The first truly legal gambling hall is expected to open by 2024, which is half a decade away and The Casino Supervising Commission has not even been established yet.
At the current pace, online gambling in Japan is bound to remain illegal for the foreseeable future. Moreover, younger generations are showing decreasing interest in traditional forms of gambling, which may stall the development of the market even more. With all of this in mind, it is hard to guess what course the online betting industry will take in Japan. Operators are certainly not happy with the present situation since it is predicted that a proper gambling market in Japan could be in the world’s top five.