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The gambling situation in Japan has always remained vague at best. Since the adoption of the Criminal Code in 1907, all types of gambling have been banned. However, at the same time, in the land of the Rising Sun, you can make several types of bets (mainly bets in sports) and take part in lotteries.

Such gambling in Japan is officially considered legal, because it brings money directly to the state treasury and is strictly supervised by various government agencies, falling under the jurisdiction of special laws. You may ask but what about Japanese online casinos? On this page, we will try to tell you everything about gambling in this amazing country. Here is what you will find.

Table of Contents:

  • Gambling in Japan
  • Legacy Of Casinos
  • Types of Gambling
  • Online Casino Sites
  • Games
  • Bonuses & Promotions
  • Payment Methods
  • FAQ

Gambling In Japan

Gambling has been a mainstay of Japanese culture for centuries and remains an important part of the society’s life to this day. Many Japanese gamblers prefer Pachinko salons but online casinos also emerged at the turn of the millennium.

Perhaps, the government banned most casinos because of local criminals. Japanese yakuza, also known as criminal gangs in Japan, maintain illegal casino halls, since gambling is one of the main areas of their activity. Only there they play seriously, for high stakes and big money. In addition to traditional games of chance: cards, roulette, people play Chinese mahjong.

It is noteworthy that in Japan there are many resources with online casinos, despite the fact that this is prohibited. In comparison to countries where people, if they really want, can easily spin the virtual roulette in any online casino site but the Japanese people are balancing on the brink of the legacy.

Casino & Law

In Japan, the law regulates the gambling industry very strictly, and therefore only a few varieties of games are officially allowed. The lottery was adapted in Japan as early as 1630.

From 1842 to 1945, it was banned due to the difficult political situation in the country, but later it was again included in the list of permitted activities. The income received from various lotteries had a positive effect on the country’s economy.

Since 1907, betting on horse racing, boats, bicycles, and motor vehicles has been legalized.

Legal games for money today include Mahjong, Pachinko and lotteries, as they have a positive effect on society.

Online poker and online casinos have been banned in Japan. Some residents travel to Macau (China) where this activity is legalized, but most of them still go to Japanese or international online sites.

In 2013, a bill was adopted that included casinos on the list of permitted activities.

The legalization of online platforms is limited to lotteries, slots, and bets on 5 sports, including the Japanese favorite football game.

Gambling Licensing in Japan

At the moment, the license available to private companies is permission to open a hall with pachinko machines. A company can receive such a license in case a person who owns a company has no criminal background and has not been seen in connection with the mafia.

Before the opening hall, the police check all slot machines for compliance with technical requirements. Pachinko halls cannot be located near schools, higher education institutions, public libraries, medical institutions, kindergartens. There is no specific license term for this type of activity, but it must be renewed periodically. The halls cannot be visited by persons under the age of 18.

Tourist Gambling In Japan

Japan’s tourist laws currently do not provide any special conditions for gambling. But the authorities are concerned about this issue and, in the future, it is planned to amend the existing legislation. Visitors to the Land of the Rising Sun have the opportunity, on general terms, to visit the pachinko and pachisuro halls, participate in Japanese lotteries and sports betting, betting on horse racing as well.

Legal Types Of Gambling In Japan

  • Sports Betting. There are several main varieties of Koei kyogi. Among them: horse racing —keiba, motorboat racing — kyotei, bicycle racing — keirin, and motorcycle racing. Gambling sports betting is a possibility that helps the Japanese to entertain themselves without breaking the laws of their country.

All bets are controlled by local authorized organizations from the state. It is interesting to know that up to 80% of the total profit from ticket sales for sports events and bets is just the amount of profit from bets.

  • Fortune lottery tickets —or takarakuji are usually sold in small shops in large cities where the lottery is usually carried out. Lotteries are held on specific days. New Year’s lottery tickets are sold exclusively at Mizuho Bank. They are then distributed by dealers.

Jumbo Nenmatsu Takarakuji (takarakuji) is not the only type of lottery. But here the main prize could be ten million yen or more. However, according to the law, 50% of the profits from such lotteries must be sent to charity and the state treasury.

Japanese lotteries are divided into several types. These are mainly numbered, digital, numerical variations, and traditional card games. Each ticket price ranges from 100 to 500 yen.

  • Pachinko is the name of the game on a slot machine, the so-called slot, which looks like a vertical pinball. As an exception, pachinkos are not officially classified as gambling. Perhaps the Japanese did it for cultural or historical reasons. Rooms with pachinko slot machines, operated by private organizations, are spread throughout Japan, and more than half of the local population and tourists visit the halls every day.

When playing pachinko, you need to win small metal balls made of steel. The diameter of each ball is exactly 11 millimeters. The price of one such ball in Japan is about four yen, but players, not on trifles, usually take a thousand yen at once.

The game consists of directing the balls to the target through a variety of various obstacles that affect the trajectory of the balls, using a special device that affects their speed. The goal is the winning pockets on the playing field of the pachinko machine.

Most of the balls, having safely bypassed all obstacles, will fall down and into the machine, and will not bring any bonus to the player. But some balls will still fall into the pockets, which activate the machine and it gives out a prize.

The wins are the same balls that fall into a special reservoir automatically. Later, these balls can be exchanged at the box office for prizes. Then such prizes are secretly exchanged for money.

  • Pachisuro is a more modern and computerized version of the classic pachinko machines. They are very similar to slot machines in other countries and are spread in Japan in the same way as pachinko. The Japanese believe that playing pachisuro is the easiest way to win.

Pachisuro slot machines are famous for constantly giving out prizes. Even if the prize is small and for this the Japanese people prefer pachisuro instead of many other slot machines.

Recently, discussions have begun in Japan on the creation of floating casinos on ships and stationary casinos in resort areas. The Japan Recovery Party is proposing an integrated casino resort project. They tried to implement the project by the time of the Olympics in Japan.

The creators of the project argue that the legalization of casinos in specially designated places in Japan would be the right step in favor of the country’s economy. Presumably, the gambling zones will be under the control of the state and part of the profits will go to the country’s treasury.

Japan Online Casinos

Online casinos are gaining immense popularity not only in Japan but all over the world. Nevertheless, Internet gambling remains in the “gray zone” in many states, including the Land of the Rising Sun.

Since all types of gambling other than those listed above are prohibited in Japan, online gambling is also considered illegal. However, not a single section of Chapter 23 of the Criminal Code dealing with gambling mentions gambling on the Internet, which means that the Japanese can play freely overseas without fear of legal problems.

Under current Japanese law, there is no established legal definition of online gambling. There are also no regulations governing this gambling segment. It is not yet possible to obtain a license for the operation of a site that provides the opportunity to gamble on a remote basis.

Although there is a fine for participation in gambling, this measure is practically not applied to online casino players. Thus, online casinos and bookmakers licensed by reputable regulatory bodies such as the UK Gambling Commission and the Malta Gambling Authority are available to Japanese citizens. These organizations ensure the fairness and legality of the games offered by the operators.

How To Pick The Best Online Casino In Japan?

The Japanese are known for their passion to gamble but at the same time, they are wary of the few virtual casinos in their country and have little choice of such sites. The country’s Internet gaming industry, surprisingly, has not yet reached the proper level. There is an explanation for this.

The thing is that at first the localization of online gaming sites was observed in Europe and North America. In Asia, online casinos have spread recently. Anyway, let’s see what criteria and features every online casino in Japan must have:

  • On the casino website, in addition to games, there should be information pages with interesting and capacious articles. The user should perceive the online casino as a site where you can spend time with pleasure and benefit, even without playing.
  • The online casino website must be linked to social networks (Tweeter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.) where players can find useful info and communicate.
  •  A virtual casino should have its own forum, where visitors could not only communicate with each other but also keep in touch with the administration of a casino website.
  • The site should contain pages with a detailed description of the functioning of a casino, as well as with the rules and conditions of the games.
  • It is necessary to post detailed information on the payment systems used in a casino, with a step-by-step guide (preferably a video) on how to use a method for deposits and withdrawals. After all, many Japanese people are completely unfamiliar with popular payment systems such as PayPal and Neteller. That is why an operator has to explain all the features and options.
  • Most operators avoid the use of the Latin alphabet and try to reflect Japanese traditions and canons in the concept of an online casino.

Japan Casino Online Games

In trusted online casinos that provide entertainment for Japanese users, there are many conventional slots and games that are popular in European gambling community. Let’s find out the top list of games Japanese people prefer playing online in casinos:

Online Pachinko Slots

The pachinko or pachislot is the only legal slot machine available in Japan. In its structure, it is a cross between pinball and a classic video slot. While playing pachislot, a gambler cannot receive winnings with real money. Pachinko, as one of the few legal types of gambling entertainment, often adapts to cult gaming products.

An additional option in Japanese slots is called Gacha. It is varied on each slot, but it includes a general principle for buying additional symbols that will help increase the number of winning combinations. The app is like a slot machine inside another.

It allows the player to spin the reels multiple times, which also increases the number of additional hands. The user pays for the option, after which the application is activated and provides additional symbols. The number of reel spins depends on the amount paid for the Gacha option.

By purchasing a gacha, the user also earns scratch bonuses. They accumulate and, reaching a certain value, make it possible to get a scratch card. This symbol opens a bonus game, during which the player has to open a certain number of squares where prizes are hidden. Thanks to the gatcha feature, all the wins increase significantly.

Table Games: Roulette, Blackjack

Roulette is one of the simplest games in both land-based and online casinos. However, roulette has one significant difference compared to other table games offered in casinos – roulette chips do not matter in the denomination. There are six to eight chipsets in various colors. Each set contains approximately 300 chips. When buying chips, each player gets their own colors. Besides, the value of each chip represents the purchase of a certain number of chips. What is important for the player to know when playing Roulette is that there are different rules for this game.

The Blackjack card game is considered the most popular table game and is one of the most preferred games provided by various online casinos. Blackjack can be played from one to eight decks of 52 cards. The object of the game is to get more points than the dealer, but no more than 21.

Thus, you must meet two conditions in order to win the game. Firstly, you need to beat the dealer’s score, and secondly, you should not go over more than 21 points. The highest hand in this game consists of an ace and any other 10-point card (tens and face cards) and is called “blackjack”, this combination beats all other hands.

Live Games

Live Dealer Games feel like playing live in a land-based casino. Such games are now rapidly evolving to give users a more real and improved gambling experience when it comes to online casino gambling. Such games in online casinos most closely convey the whole atmosphere of a land-based gambling casino.

Live dealer games are streamed with live dealers who deal with real cards or roll a ball on the roulette wheel. Both beginners and professionals can play a variety of games, including baccarat, blackjack, roulette, poker, and many more.

Top Japanese Online Slots

As you know all Japanese people are really mad about playing games online. It is not a surprise that Japanese favorite games exist. Now we want to tell you about some of them in this paragraph. Maybe you will also enjoy these slots

Silent Hill

Pachislot machines based on video game plots are by no means uncommon in Japanese gaming halls. This is especially true for games with cult status. Silent Hill is a gaming series that has gained fame throughout the world. The original Silent Hill was released in 1999 has become the subject of numerous film adaptations and acquiring a multi-million army of fans.

The Silent Hill storyline was developed by the Japanese company Takasago Electric Industry in cooperation with Konami Corporation. Pachinko Silent Hill has a vibrant theme. The atmospheric horror aesthetic creates a special mood during the game. The enjoyment of excitement in this case is complemented by the contemplation of the ominous landscapes of Silent Hill.

During the game, you can periodically see the characters that became famous thanks to the original version. A labyrinth with a moving ball is positioned against the background of the screen, on which a breathtaking spectacular animation is demonstrated. Mysterious soundtracks and sound effects organically complement the player’s experience.

The Pachinko Silent Hill has a familiar control structure. Metal balls are used instead of chips or cash. This feature is due to the classic pachinko rules, which are based on pinball. The essence of the game is to drive the ball through a mechanical labyrinth in a special way. The prize is awarded with metal balls, which the player can then exchange for pleasant rewards.

Akumajo Dracula Slot

Akumajo Dracula is a popular video game developed by Konami and also known as Castlevania. It is one of the oldest Japanese computer games. The first version was released back in 1986. Castlevania is considered one of the pioneers in the horror gaming genre. Players have an excellent chance to plunge into the mysterious atmosphere of gothic and mysticism.

The Akumajo Dracula pachislot was created especially for fans of traditional Japanese slot machines. You can enjoy this game in the special pachinko halls. Pachislots are a more modern modification of the pachinko, which has features not only of a pinball, but also of a traditional reel video slot.

Based on the Akumajo Dracula game, the pachislot along with the standard strategy has additional missions based on the original storyline. Fans of slot machines are well aware that most modern video slots have extra bonus games. They are also provided in this pachislot.

In one of the bonus rounds, sorceress Angela appears. This character dances and during the dance runic symbols appear on the body. After collecting all three runes, the player gets the opportunity to defeat Dracula himself.

Musou Orochi Pachislot

In 2007, a computer game called Warriors Orochi was released in Japan, which later became very popular all over the world. The video game is made in the hack and slash genre, which involves intense melee battles. Many spin-off games have been developed based on Warriors Orochi, one of them is called the Musou Orochi pachislot. This is a game that has the structure of traditional Japanese pachisuro machines.

In the classic version of Warriors Orochi, the player has the opportunity to choose one of 4 storylines and, accordingly, one of 4 characters. During the game of pachislot called Musou Orochi, the user also gets a chance to meet these heroes opposing the snake king. The device mainly implements plots borrowed from the Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors series.

The device is equipped with a screen with 3 reels. Each of them rotates and when stopped, combinations of symbols are formed on the active lines. Each of the combinations has its own amounts of prize accruals, which can be found in the paytable. Along with the main characters of Warriors Orochi, various attributes related to the plot can be seen on the reels like rings, hieroglyphs, weapon elements, and other images.

Even a player who does not have impressive experience in using pachisuro can master the intricacies of playing Musou Orochi pachislot. The control panel includes an element that launches the reels, buttons that regulate the amount of bets and the number of lines, and other components.

The gameplay is not limited to standard reel spins. Certain combinations of symbols give the user a nice bonus in the form of a bonus game. Bonus rounds are ready to bring even more impressive wins, and also bring a pleasant variety to the gameplay.

Game Software Providers

A Japanese developer called Konami has long been the largest in Japan. In 2005, the company moved its headquarters to Las Vegas. She started her work back in 1969. The provider specializes not only in slot machines, but also in video games. It was this company that created such bestsellers as the Dance Dance Revolution, the Silent Hill horror series, the first computer-based tactical spy game Metal Gear, and more.

JTG, or JAPAN Technicals Games is another Japanese game provider. The motto of this company is “Easy and fun”which underlines the simplicity and enjoyable gameplay. This online casino slot machine provider is one of the youngest on the market. JTG specializes in the development of these pachislots. On the Qyto site, you can find the review exploring the slots called Battle Dwarf and Hawaiian Dream developed by JTG.

Besides local providers, Japanese people may like world-class giants such as NetEnt, Microgaming, Play’n GO, Yggdrasil, and other cool developers that make high-quality production.

Online Casino Bonuses For Japan

Japanese gamblers can enjoy several promotions available in European online casinos. When you just have chosen an operator, you face a variety of goods that you can claim or not to make the playing process more exciting. Well here is the list of bonuses every Japanese player can get to boost wins.

Sign-up Bonuses

Most often, such bonuses are credited immediately after registration, even before replenishing an account at a casino. Usually, they represent free spins in one or several machines. The rate at which the free spins are cleared is fixed, as is the list of slots. Usually, in this way, the casino tries to draw attention to new slot machines, which would otherwise be of little popularity.

Free spins can be credited not only for registration, but also for other cases. For example, for a player’s birthday. Also, almost all modern slots offer the opportunity to get a series of free spins within the gameplay itself. To do this, you need to collect certain combinations of game symbols.

First Deposit Bonus

This type of bonus is calculated as a percentage of the amount deposited by the player. the first and subsequent deposits. The standard size of the deposit bonus is 100% of the amount, there are options of 50% and 200%. However, these funds cannot be withdrawn just like that.

Only after the player has made a bet for a certain amount. This is called a wager and it is calculated as the number of times you need to wager the bonus. The average wager ranges from x20 to x50.

Other Promotions

  • Sticky bonuses mean gamblers receive their full winnings. It includes the amount of the winnings itself, as well as the amount of the bonus account. The withdrawal of funds is made after the user completes all the conditions of a casino for wagering;
  • Weekly/Monthly bonuses are rare. They were created to keep customers interested and to stimulate the continuation of the game. Bonuses are issued weekly, either monthly or on weekends. Prizes are always awarded according to different principles;
  • The Loyalty system is another one special scheme of receiving benefits from a casino. If you are a regular user of the gambling site, you get a special attitude from the casino like a personal support manager, regular bonuses, birthday gifts, chances to participate in tournaments.

Mobile Casino In Japan

Every year, a huge number of people buy smart devices like smartphones, tablets. Guided by this fact, the operators of the gaming industry are actively working on the development of much more user-friendly versions of their sites. Today, every mobile casino is a full-fledged gaming hall with a wide range of entertainment options.

Japan is a highly technological country where all people cannot live without their mobile phones because all their lives are in these small things. That is why mobile casinos are a perfect solution for Japanese players.

Mobile devices offer a much more flexible gameplay mode today providing a completely different level of gaming experience. Of course, every real money mobile casino has its own advantages and disadvantages. For this reason, fans of gambling entertainment do not always make the right and optimal choice of one or another casino.

How to start playing at a mobile casino? There are no difficulties to play mobile casino:

  • First, the user needs to go to the online casino website from his/her mobile device;
  • After that, on the website, you need to select your device according to the type of operating system and download the casino to your tablet or phone;
  • Then you need to go through a short and very easy registration procedure on the website of an online gambling site.

Top Banking Methods For Japan Casinos

Japanese players are especially careful with online deposit and withdrawal methods.

Japanese users do not know anything about methods that are popular in the international gambling community. The Japanese will not use these payment systems for the reason most of the market uses them. That is why a detailed description of the payment system use should be posted on the site.

Visa

The VISA system is one of the most popular in online casinos; it is used by the majority of not only players but also the general population of all countries. A VISA credit card can be obtained from any bank without difficulty, it is easy and quick to pay with it.

As for online casinos, before depositing funds into the account, the VISA card must be registered on the site by entering the name, surname, card number in a special form. These actions will not lead to the disclosure of the player’s personal data, as the casino values ​​its reputation and respects the confidentiality of the players.

Mastercard

It is one of the oldest payment systems, created by Mastercard in 1996 and operating all over the world. The Mastercard system allows you to open a card at any branch of any bank and use the money for your own purposes including gambling.

Almost all online casinos use the MasterCard payment system because it is profitable and convenient to use it. To replenish your account, you need to select MasterCard in the appropriate form, then enter the data indicated on the card, as when paying for other services.

Skrill

Many casinos offer to use the Skrill payment system, which was recently called Moneybookers, and for several years it has been recognized as one of the most popular payment services on the European continent. Easiness of use for deposits and making payments in any casino that works today are not the only benefits of this method. It is user-friendly and secure service. Today Skrill is available in 170 countries.

Japanese players can choose any payment system for depositing or withdrawing in a casino. But first, it is important to pay attention to the conditions of use of any service you pick for every appropriate casino.

Interesting Facts Of The Japanese Gambling

Japan has always been able to surprise the world with technological innovations and unusual traditions. The gambling business is no exception. Here is the list of the most impressive facts regarding gambling in this unusual coutry.

  1. In Tokyo, there was a casino “Kabuki-cho” where robots worked instead of the usual croupiers. They dealt the cards, chips and played with visitors. At that time, the casino was not legalized, so when the police found it, it was closed. But after the legalization of gambling in Japan, the government decided that robots in casinos should return.
  1. Anime poker. Young Japanese women dressed as governess act as dealers. These dealers make announcements with gestures and dance.
  1. There are no bets or cash winnings in poker clubs. Visitors buy a certain amount of drinks prescribed by the club’s rules. In exchange, they win a variety of prizes, including a trip to Macau, the gaming industry’s paradise.
  1. A one-armed bandit has served gambling brick-and-mortar clubs for no more than two years. After that, any Japanese can buy the device for home use.
  1. Income from slot machines in Japan is 4 times more than the world income from online casinos.
  1. Island of vintage slot machines. On the island of Odaiba, Tokyo Bay, there is a hall of exclusive slot machines made in the vintage style. Prizes from such machines are of rare value and represent the country’s cultural heritage.
  1. Casino advertising is not prohibited in this country;
  2. Google has officially allowed casino ads in Japan.

Responsible Gambling

Japan has faced such a problem as gambling addiction throughout its history. The mentality of the inhabitants of the country has its own features, one of which is the tendency to get too carried away during gambling. According to various sources, the number of pathological gambling addicts among the Japanese reaches from 4 to 5%.

In Japan, more than 5 million people are addicted to games. Every 13th inhabitant regularly visits the halls where pachinko and pachisuro are installed. In Japanese news, there are cases of fainting from overwork while playing. Even sad situations were recorded that ended in the death of the player.

The authorities and the Ministry of Health do not think that gambling addiction is a widespread problem in the country and do not regard the situation as critical. Nevertheless, there are reasons for concern, that is why the country has an official ban on gambling.

Prospects For The Gambling Development In Japan

The prospects for the Japanese gambling business can be called promising. Major representatives of the international gambling market have already expressed their desire to start working in Japan. There is information that the first gambling house in the country will be opened by the American operator Sands.

According to the head of the corporation Sheldon Adelson, it is planned to invest about 10 billion USD in the project. According to forecasts of industry analysts, the gambling business will annually bring about USD 25 billion to the Japanese budget.

The laws of Japan currently do not provide players and operators with special freedom, however, after the adoption of the law on legalization, the situation should radically change.

Frequently Asked Questions

Local authorities do not provide clear restrictions regarding online casinos. Sites containing online gambling are not blocked in any way by Japanese Internet providers. Therefore, players do not need to think about how to get around these restrictions. As for the bookmakers and casinos themselves, they are happy to see the Japanese among their users.

You have to be at least 18 years old to gamble in online casinos in Japan.

Unfortunately, it is not as safe as it could be because if a Japanese player is caught while playing illegal casino games, he/she can be fined. However, it is not forbidden to play online casino games available on European websites. This means any Japanese player can pick an international casino website, learn more about this operator, and start playing.

To choose the most suitable gambling site in Japan, you need to know the criteria of a reliable casino. Every good casino has a license from the regulatory authorities, a big variety of games, generous bonuses and promotions, friendly user agreement, 24/7 support service. On the Qyto website, you can find many unbiased casino reviews that reveal all the pros and cons of every gambling site. After reading, you can choose where to gamble online.