5 Things You Did Not Know About Online Casinos In Japan

Online gambling in Japan is extremely popular. When you consider that the population of Japan is about half of that of the United States, but the revenue generated through gambling in both countries is nearly equal, you get a somewhat clearer picture of how much gambling takes place in Japan. But before we dig into our list of things you probably are not aware of regarding online casinos in Japan, let’s learn a bit about the history of this pastime in the Orient.

The History of Japanese Online Casinos

The first online casino in Japan was established in 1998 and since that time, online gambling has become a billion-dollar industry making Japan one of the leaders. At the time, the online casino was extremely basic in design compared to what is currently available. You have to remember that technology was different back then and pages for the first Japanese online casino took a long time to fully load on a computer screen. Thankfully, high-speed internet has improved this greatly and has encouraged the development of more artistic designed games with multiple functions and features.

By the mid-2000s, the Bandar slot online platform was legalized in Europe and several other countries. It was at this point when Japan became a solid contender in the online gambling industry. All Japanese slot game developers had to do with the infrastructure already in place, was to make their platform accessible to the international market. It took off after a couple of hiccups like poor translations of Japanese to English, but once those things were ironed out, thanks to strict quality control measures being implemented, the popular online casinos in Japan started to take the world by storm.

 The Legal Side of Gambling In Japan

Gambling laws date back to 1907 in Japan. That was when gamblers in that country were only allowed to bet on certain activities. The approved list of “Public Sports” where pari-mutuel wagering was allowed included just four different sporting events. They included horse riding, bicycle racing, motorbiking, and boat racing. The latter two were added later. Betting in the form of a lottery dates back to the mid-17th Century in Japan but was banned in 1842. At the end of the second World War, a lottery system was relaunched but it did not last long as it was intended to rebuild the bomb-scarred country.

Today, there is one legally licensed online gambling portal in Japan. It is operated by a company called Toto and in addition to the original Four Sports, bettors can place wagers on J-League soccer and in football pools. This has caused many Japanese gamblers to seek other forms of betting and since no laws are prohibiting the use of foreign online bookmakers, there is a lot of activity in that format. However, Japan is considering legalizing all forms of gambling, and discussions at the regulatory level began in October 2013. Still, nothing concrete has come out of the dialogue to change things.

Five Things About Japanese Online Casinos You May Not Know

1 – Japan Has Gambling Halls For Bettors To Use 

A gambling hall in Japan is very different from what you would consider a casino-like venue. To begin with, you won’t find the types of games you would expect to see in a Western casino. Instead, there are electronic booths that offer games like Pachinko. Think of a mixture between an arcade video game and a pinball machine-type mechanism and you get a better idea of what this game is about. The game uses several ball bearings and the number left over after completing the game can be exchanged for cash prizes or gifts. Sort of like winning a teddy bear at an arcade game.

2 – There Are No Casinos In Japan 

What we would term as Western land-based casinos are not legally permitted in Japan. It also means that there has never been a major gambling tournament hosted in that country. Yes, the possibility exists that should the Japanese Government legalize gambling in all forms that casinos, as we know them, may start to appear. What makes this even more interesting is that the market would be ripe for big-name casino operators to jump on board and build casinos. For example, Melco Crown Entertainment has hinted at building a $5-billion casino once Japan’s laws open up to the idea.

3 – Japanese Online Casinos Are Cheaper 

Compared to North American or European online casinos, Japanese online casinos cost far less to gamble. For example, the betting threshold in Japan goes as low as 5 cents per bet and is commonly set at 25 cents a wager. Then there is the vast number of online casinos you can visit where there is no requirement to bet at all. These sites provide free plays so that bettors can become familiar with the casino games being offered and work on their skills. For many gamblers, playing at the free sites is a form of entertainment itself that can occupy hours and cost the player nothing to participate.

4 – There Are So Many More Bonuses

If you thought that the one online casino you spend most of your time at offered some crazy bonuses, wait until you find out about what is available in Japan. Japanese online casinos do go the extra mile in getting customers hooked on their platform. They do this with many unique incentives and creative bonuses. Some sites provide up to 100 free spins at sign up. Others will give you a 100% first deposit match when you register your account. Who wouldn’t want to double their money without having to spin a single wheel just by joining? In Japan, these features have helped make online casinos popular.

5 – Expect A Massive Selection Of Games

Again, compared to North American and European online casinos, the Japanese ones have a much larger selection of games to choose from. Some sites have well over five-thousand games and typically keep adding to them. When we say “different” games, we are specifically describing the themes, formats, and designs of the games that are offered. Expect to see several themes on games like baccarat, blackjack, poker, craps, roulette, and many different types of slot machine games. Plus, the Japanese online casinos tend to load up on games that are released with themes of new movies each time one hits the big screen.


Japan is no stranger to online gambling. However, government regulations have restricted activity to either legalized gambling halls or online casinos. Eventually, land-based casinos will appear in Japan and are expected to be massive in size to address the obvious demand of bettors in that country. What makes gambling so popular in Japan? The online casinos are cheaper to play, feature additional bonuses and offer huge numbers of games to choose from that make other online casinos in Europe and North America look like amateurs. At least while lawmakers decide what to do, there are forms of gambling that Japanese bettors can use to entertain themselves.


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