Japan’s relationship with gambling can be easily described as rather complicated for the simple reason that under Article 185 of the Penal Code, a ban was introduced on most gambling activities, either in online or offline form. After some legislative changes, the gambling activities in which citizens of the country can engage in are ubiquitous, with lotteries, betting on some sports, and casino games being among the options the Japanese can freely access.
The penetration of gambling activities in Japanese society is substantial, and the multi-trillion yen industry is expected to continue thriving in the years to come. Pachinko is the segment that generates the largest share of the revenues the industry produces.
Best Japan Casinos
The number of brick-and-mortar casinos the Japanese are given choice from is exceptionally limited, but the same cannot be said about interactive casinos. Even though currently there are no local online casinos that are authorized to accept Japanese players, citizens of the country are catered to multiple offshore betting platforms.
Best Japan Casino Bonuses
Most players attach great significance to bonus incentives, and for this reason, casino operators introduce a fair amount of special incentives that are designed for newly-registered and returning users.
Casino operators are in the habit of making a fuss over newly-registered users and typically design some of the most crowd-pleasing offers precisely for players who have just registered their accounts. While betting online, gambling enthusiasts will find different welcome incentives, but deposit match bonuses seem to be the most recurring offers.
In most cases, such offers have a rather considerable size, and are triggered when players make their first deposit but might also extend to the first couple of top-ins. Such bonus deals are a percentage of the amount first-timers have added to their accounts up to a preset maximum. Normally, there is a bare minimum on the amount newcomers are allowed to add to their accounts in order to receive the bonus amount and a maximum on the amount they are allowed to stake per single bet.
There are also Japan-facing online casinos that offer no-deposit bonuses to gambling enthusiasts who have just signed up for an account. Players can take the name of no-deposit bonuses at face value as these special deals are triggered without transferring funds to their accounts.
Rounds of free spins are also largely incorporated into the bonus systems of many Japan-oriented online casinos, and depending on the operator, these might be awarded to newcomers or existing users. Free spins stand as a much-welcomed boost as, thanks to them, gambling enthusiasts can try their hand at a single game or several games without using their funds. What avid casino fans should bear in mind about such offers, however, is that their winnings will be subject to rollover requirements.
Reload or deposit bonuses are granted after gambling enthusiasts keep on playing at the preferred online casino, and add funds to their accounts to extend their betting session. Depending on the casino, players who make a qualifying deposit might be allowed to redeem reload bonuses daily or weekly.
High-Roller and VIP Bonuses
The special perks the most loyal users of online casinos might receive differ wildly, and typically, the most adept players might be offered different privileges like better customer support, faster cashout times, tailor-made bonuses, or a personal account manager, among others.
Additionally, gambling enthusiasts who play regularly at online casinos might be offered the chance to collect comp points that can then be converted into playing money or other perks.
Casino Regulation in Japan
According to the Penal Code, gambling activities operated by the private sector have been criminal offenses for many years, and under Article 185 of the Penal Code gambling, in general, is forbidden. Additionally, Article 185 provides that people who are found to gamble will face a fine of ¥500,000.
That being said, the Penal Code has a carve-out stating that the Japanese do not gamble and, therefore, not violate the law if the “item which is placed on bet is that of monetary amusement”.
Yet, things got a slightly more favorable turn for gambling enthusiasts in 2016 and 2018 when the Integrated Resort Promotion Law and the IR Implementation Law were introduced.
Naturally, the introduction of the Acts garnered enormous interest, not only within the country but internationally as well. This is understandable since, under the provisions of the Act, licensed private entities are given permission to operate integrated resorts in which there are casinos. Gambling in online form remains illegal under these two statutes.
Thus, the availability of casino services is limited exclusively to specific areas in integrated resorts, only if the area is authorized by the Minister of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport. All gambling activities that take place within the casino areas of integrated resorts are overseen by the Casino Administration Committee. In other words, stand-alone casinos cannot apply for a license in Japan and operate legally in the country.
Under the provisions of the Integrated Resort Implementation Law, there is a ceiling on the number of IR areas, and currently, their number is three. Additionally, integrated resorts can have a single casino. Licenses are valid for three years, and can be renewed to another three-year term.
The authorities in Japan have introduced multiple measures to prevent problem gambling, as anyone who wants to enter the casino area of integrated resorts needs to pay an entry fee of ¥6,000. Additionally, there is a limit on the number of times one can visit the casino area as they cannot go to it more than three times per week or more than ten times in 28 days. Yet, this limitation does not apply to non-Japanese residents.
Placing bets on motorcycle races, horse races, motorboat races, bicycle races, sport promotion lotteries, and sales of lottery tickets are all controlled and operated by a public or quasi-public sector in an offline form. Japanese football pools are also permitted under special laws.
Recently, the question of legalizing sports betting was put on the table, but up to this point, no decisions have been made in this direction. Social and skill-based games in digital or offline forms are not regulated either.
Online Gambling in Japan
In order to ensure that the government will be able to strictly control gambling activities and prevent problem gambling, the authorities limit the access of players to casino games exclusively to the specifically designed areas within integrated resorts. In other words, online casino activities that are offered by local operators outside these areas are forbidden.
That being said, there are still some exceptions to this rule, as the Japanese can bet on certain sports events, provided that they are self-regulated and operated by municipal bodies or the Japanese government.
Yet, a controversy arises when it comes to overseas casinos because no mention is made of such betting platforms in the current gambling-related legislation. It is also unclear what punishments citizens of the country might suffer if they are found to play at such casinos. That being said, in 2016, several Japanese players were found to bet at offshore online casinos and were subsequently convicted of illegal gambling.
It is also worth noting that social and skill-based games are not specifically regulated in an online form. Yet, when skill games and competitions with no elements of chance are concerned, excessive prizes might be banned by the Fair Trade Commission or the Consumer Affairs Agency.
Are there land-based and online casinos in Japan
Currently, the Japanese are only allowed to enjoy casino games in offline form and at the casino areas of integrated resorts. Up to this date, there are no web-based casinos that are authorized to accept players from Japan.
What games are available in land-based casinos in Japan
While being in one of the brick-and-mortar casinos in Japan, gambling enthusiasts can enjoy electronic table games, pai gow poker, roulette, casino War, blackjack, baccarat, sic bo, and craps.
What are the best bonuses players from Japan can redeem
Casino operators offer different incentives to their users, and how long they have been playing at the betting platform is what determines what perks will come their way. Most online casinos strive to provide their users with a wholesome experience from the very beginning of their stay through generous welcome deals. Regular users might also have special deals to look forward to, as online casinos offer various daily, weekly, and even loyalty special deals.
Are there online casinos that accept payments in Japanese Yen
In spite of the fact that there are no online casinos that are based in Japan, there are still overseas casinos where gambling enthusiasts can execute their payments in their currency.
Do Japan-facing online casinos accept payments via cryptocurrencies
Yes. Some of the interactive casinos that target the Japanese market allow their members to top up their accounts and withdraw their winnings through some of the most commonly used cryptocurrencies.