Japanese are no strangers to gambling. While the country has very complex and quite strict gambling laws, there is no lack of activities for those looking to test their luck. Pachinko parlors enjoy a great popularity in Japan as they represent the closest thing one can find resembling a gambling venue.
These games, that represent a crossover between slots and pinball machines, are outside of the scope of the regulation and can be found all over the country.
Yet, there are no traditional casinos in Japan as of yet. While recent regulatory changes have finally made it possible for several land-based gambling venues to open, it will still be a few years before this happens.
With physical options so limited, players are turning more and more to the internet. Online casinos in Japan are attracting an increasing number of players, providing them with a chance to enjoy games like slots, roulette, blackjack, and much more. And Japanese gamblers are loving it!
Completely Unregulated Market
Laws pertaining to gambling in Japan are mostly directed towards land-based operators. Offshore online casinos can and often do cater to Japanese customers without any restrictions. It is a big market with a huge revenue-generating potential so it’s no surprise internet casinos and betting sites are fighting for their share of it.
One of the rare gambling activities that’s actually allowed in the country, horse race betting, generated $27 billion in revenue in 2019. The pachinko industry is estimated to be worth around $30 billion.
Numbers for online casinos aren’t readily available exactly due to the lacking regulation. However, it’s not unrealistic to think that numbers are very high especially with sites like Vera John that offer a variety of bonuses and promotions to keep their players happy.
Government Missing a Trick with Online Casinos in Japan?
It took a long time for gambling to finally become regulated in Japan as there were (and still are) many political and social groups against it. The latest bill addresses live venues but it doesn’t really do anything for online casinos in Japan. It seems that those who decide to play on the internet will continue to do so with offshore, internationally-licensed operators.
The question that comes naturally is: is Japanese government missing a trick here?
Looking at the numbers, it’s clear that regulating the online gambling sector in the country would result in big income boosts. Charging licensing fees and taxing operators wanting to offer their services in Japan would clearly pump a lot of cash into country’s economy.
With all this being said, it’s no secret that these types of legal battles can be very long and quite inefficient. It’s enough to look at the USA where sports betting has only recently been made legal despite the activity enjoying a great popularity all over the country for decades.
In the end, there is no doubt that Japan will catch up with the times and come up with a legal framework for online casinos that will benefit the country and help offer better protection for the players. But it’s safe to say that it might take a while.