Online Gambling Laws in Japan

Online Gambling Laws in Japan

Nowadays the casino industry and especially the online casino industry has developed into a lucrative business. The fact that this business  brings annually large revenue in the state budget, made many governments reconsider their attitude and amend the state gambling laws and regulations.


Many countries have been amending their state gambling laws and regulations with the aim to ensure more benefits and bigger responsibility in gambling for their citizens


Until recently Japanese government has taken rather negative stance on land-based and online casino gambling. The Land of Rising Sun – the other popular name of Japan has a population of over 127 million. Many citizens like gambling as a form of entertainment. In this article we will try  to describe the recent gambling regulations in Japan.


Historical Review of Gambling in Japan

Japan is a constitutional monarchy – the power of the Emperor is mainly ceremonial and very limited. Laws regarding gambling have existed in Japan since 1900s. From the early years of gambling, Japanese citizens were allowed to participate only in legal forms of gambling which were recommended by the leading party.

Events such as bicycle racing and horse racing were only permitted to bet on at the very beginning. Later on boat races and motorbike races were also added. Lottery has appeared in Japan since the middle of 17th century. After the World War II the income from the lottery was used to recover the damages caused by the nuclear bombs.

Apart from the sports events betting and Pachinko, Toto – the other popular name of the National Lottery is the only legal licensed form of gambling. For a long period of time the government in Japan did not allow land based and online gambling to become legal and get a legalization. 

A big number of gamblers in Japan use different foreign gambling sites as gambling entertainment.


New Gambling Rules

The party in power has been forced to amend the regulations on gambling under the pressure of Japanese citizens who were looking for more versatile land based options and online gambling sites. Nowadays Japan is in the process of legalizing different forms of gambling. After 15 years of political arguments, in 2016 the Japanese Parliament passed a law to legalize gambling. 

Gambling regulations have been changed partly for safety and because of the financial profit legal gambling could bring. The statistic inquiry shows that only 3 casinos could generate as much as $10 billion in net profit a year.

Many international gaming companies that were planning to invest in Japan got very excited by the current change in legalization. Actually it will take some time to finally get things in motion. And when it comes to online gambling there are restrictions as well.

Nowadays players can legally only wager online for national lottery, public sport events and soccer Toto. The penalties are big for any unlawful betting activities. Fines and even imprisonment offenders can face if they are caught and prosecuted.


Are gambling winnings taxable?

The taxation of gambling funds have been discussed a lot. The available legal gambling forms are already paying a percentage of tax. There are talks that the new legal casinos tax could be a total of 22%. The winners in the lottery are not required to pay tax. If citizens bet on sports events they have to report their winnings in the income tax return.  

As there is no legalized system to regulate online gambling, winnings online will not be taxed. Users of any foreign online gambling site are free to keep their winnings.


Online gambling legalization in Japan

With the new amended laws connected with Japanese casinos people could think that online gambling will be legal soon. The truth is, that the procedure of legalization will take some time.

Problems like money laundering as well as the increasing gambling addiction are probably the reasons for a lot of citizens to vote against the legalization of gambling. 

Actually there are no online casinos in Japan itself but various large foreign online casinos welcome players from Japan. As hundreds of online casinos are available, players meet real difficulties to choose the right and safe casino, offering their favorite games and attractive bonus packages. In Japan a cuatomer cannot be protected against any fraudulent activity at any of the online sites.

When you decide to play at an online casino, for your safety, follow our recommendation to check out the list of top international casinos. We guarantee that these sites have been licensed and approved as safe, secure, and rewarding.

Edward Griffin


Edward Griffin

Hey I'm Edward Griffin, one of the people behind I have been living, playing and working in the online casino world for the past 15 years. I am here to help you make the most informed decisions for your online casino experience.

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