Are Online Casinos Legal In Japan?

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If you are considering using an online casino while in Japan and wondering about the legality of doing so, well, you are not alone. It’s a common query and one that has no clear-cut answer, but let us attempt to assist you nonetheless. 

While Japan has regulations in place that deal with the legality of brick and mortar casinos, they don’t currently have any provisions that relate to online operations, which means (in theory) that online casino activity isn’t illegal. 

Residents of Japan are allowed to bet on horse racings, cycling races, and on the lotteries that are run by the public sector. These activities are allowed online, but though online casinos aren’t regulated, they are not seemingly an issue that the Japanese state is actively looking to clamp down on. 

This has led many to conclude that it’s only a matter of time before Japan looks to sanction online gaming officially. Indeed, some online casino sites operate under the radar, such as https://www.mystino.com/ja/, and a number of American casino operators are keen to make the most of the lack of competition, especially in relation to offline efforts.

Wynn Resorts Ltd, who run a number of operations worldwide, did move to open a resort in Yokohama before withdrawing from the tender, and MGM are pushing with efforts to open a casino and resort located in Osaka worth as much as $10 billion, such is the promise of the market in Japan.

A number of Japanese citizens freely access online casinos outside Japan and do so without little fear of the repercussions. These online entities, though based overseas, freely target Japan with sites and messages in their language, and the interest has expanded during the COVID pandemic, where clearly many people have been stuck at home looking for entertaining ways to spend their time.

As well as online casino activity, Japanese gamblers like to partake in sports betting, which is legal, and therefore one imagines the move to allow casino action isn’t such a big leap from a moral standpoint.

Indeed it’s worth noting that millions of Japanese freely enjoy a game of Pachinko, which is classed as a recreational arcade game but is more often known as a gambling activity, and therefore the moves to censure casinos are fairly free from objective reasoning.

Some believe that Japan, which has a massive deficit, could look to legalizing the activity as a way to bump up their coffers and could also look to use this to fuel tourism to the country, but things do move slowly in a country that is still dominated by traditions that date back hundreds and thousands of years.

It should be noted that Japan has a long history of gambling, and any move to completely regulate the online casino and gaming market seems likely to be only a matter of time from becoming a reality.  

Perhaps Japan may approach the matter on a province-by-province basis, much as the US does, which could, in the end, speed up the adoption of a regulated market.

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