Japan gambling regulations is an interesting topic to cover. The archipelago has no licensed brick and mortar casino but it has other legal forms of gambling like pachinko, lotteries, and sports betting. It was on May 10, 1998, that the Sports Promotion Voting (SPV) Act legalized betting on sports, which may come in several forms such as soccer, motorcycle racing, bicycle racing, horse racing, and boat racing.
As mentioned, Japan has a strictly regulated gambling industry. Only those that fall under the public sports bracket is considered legal. Next to pachinko, most Japanese engage in sports betting. It has actually made the country one of the most sought after horse racing venue in the world, as it continued to grow over the years.
In 2015, the Japanese people wagered a total of US$22.5 billion in horse racing. The following year, Japan made bets in Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe twice the value of what the French people did even when the host of the event was France. Horse racing has become popular in the country because Japan residents enjoy placing their money on foreign races. Many sports racing analysts believe that the prize money coming from horse races in Japan is the best in the world. It has made racing a competitive and lucrative gambling activity.
Like the UK’s Tote, horse race betting in Japan is through pari-mutuel betting. Betting is carried out by purchasing tickets from a prize pool. As much as 80% of the winnings are given in payouts, with the remaining 20% given to the local and national government to help fund projects.
The same kind of betting is applicable to Toto betting. Over the years, the J-League rose to prominence as more people wager on the sport. Interestingly, J-League’s popularity did not do much to increase the number of kiosks and booths that sell tickets for the said sport.
Online Sports Betting in Japan
The great thing about sports betting in Japan is the availability of online betting. Both the Toto and horse racing betting can be done online. The online betting firm is fully regulated and licensed by the government. To comply with the gambling regulation, they are not allowed to offer additional services including online betting on non-public events and sports.
The Japanese government allows their citizens to watch horse racing and football through the internet and despite the existing prohibitions, the locals generate a competitive betting interest. Those who want to engage in sports betting beyond what the Japanese government allows are highly recommended to use an international online sportsbook.
Technically, online sports betting in Japan is illegal. But the law has a loophole that most Japanese gamblers take advantage of so that they can still enjoy sports betting and not worry about getting in trouble with the government. While this is not an acceptable activity to the authorities, they can only do so much in regulating the people from using foreign bookies. These websites are not located in Japan, they are not headquartered in the country. Thus, they are not violating any local laws. The local government does not have jurisdiction over these online websites. This means that Japanese citizens will not be persecuted or punished for placing a wager on online sportsbooks. Locals can sign up, deposit money, and place bets on any online website that is licensed, regulated, and located outside of the country.
Similarly, mobile betting is also prohibited in Japan. This includes downloadable games that allow players to win money. This form of gambling is widespread in Japan but it is very difficult for the government to track and regulate, making it an extremely profitable business for operators and creators of these games.
Partly, the Japanese government does not actively seek to ban or block these gambling websites because of politics and diplomacy. Japan is known for being one of the world’s largest industrialized free market economy. This means that the country gives utmost importance to international trade. When one takes into consideration the probability of WTO disputes, Japan would highly benefit from not taking an aggressive step towards online betting sites.
The gambling black market in Japan has siphoned government revenues. This has forced the country to offer its citizens gambling avenues by finally legalizing casinos.
A huge selection of online sportsbooks and operators target Japanese players by offering the Japanese language and currency. Some websites even offer online slots and pinball machines since these games are also significant in the Japanese culture.
For those who are ambivalent towards online sports betting, they can stick to betting on J-League football in the country. Just make sure that the bets are placed in J-League Soccer Pools or Toto. This sport may not have the best odds but they are known to offer huge payouts.
Sports Betting Odds Format in Japan
While other gambling activities are known to have betting odds formats like Hong Kong Odds, American Odds, and Indonesian Odds, Japan does not have a standard sports betting odds. Most players from Japan use the Decimal Odds.
Online bookies use decimal odds as the typical method of presenting their odds to players. Usually called European odds, this type is the most commonly applied by bettors from Canada, Australia, Europe, and Japan because it is simple to use.
Decimal odds is taken by multiplying the stake by the odds. This equates to the payout that a bettor should receive. A sample formula for decimal odds is:
Stake X Odds = Payout
Manchester United has a decimal odds of 1.85. If a player places a bet of $1,000, the potential return of the wager will be $1,850. Keep in mind that this includes the initial stake of $1,000. To get the net profit original stake should be subtracted giving the player $850 in winnings.
$1,000 Initial Stake X 1.85 Decimal Odds = $850 Potential Winning
Let’s say a player is betting on an underdog with a 2.75 decimal odds, the math for the bet would be:
$1,000 X 2.75 = $2,750
This means that the player is risking $1,000 to win $1,750 in profit.
Decimal odds of 2.0 simply means that a player is betting to double their initial stake while odds that are below 2.0 are less than even money odds, meaning that the potential profit would be less than the initial stake.
Parlay betting, a popular form of sports wagering, is best with decimal odds because this is where they can calculate true odds. With parlays, those who place their bets can wager that two or more moneylines, point spreads, or over/unders would win. This allows them to receive a higher payout should all their picks win. Parlays bet wagered with decimal odds would give bettors the opportunity to maximize their bets with the fairest and most accurate odds.
Deposit and Withdrawal Options for Online Sports Betting in Japan
Players who want to try their luck at online sports betting in Japan often raise the question of deposit and withdrawal options. For other countries, the best and most convenient way would be to use their credit or debit cards but for Japan, it is not recommended. Some banks decline transactions when credit and debit cards are used for funding online betting sites. They often tag it as a suspicious transaction. For Japan players, the best way to get around this is by using an e-wallet like Neteller or Skrill.
Neteller is a reputable financial company with a license from the United Kingdom as an electronic money provider. It is also under the regulation by the UK’s Financial Service Authority. Neteller accounts are easy to open and use. Upon sign up, users will be asked to verify their personal information. A scan of local ID will be asked. This can be a passport, driver’s license, or any photo-bearing Japanese identification card. The site will also ask users to send a proof of address such as a utility bill under the user’s name. Those who do not have one may request a bank verification of the address.
Users with a verified account can fund it via bank transfer from any local Japanese bank including MUFG, Mizuho, Bank of Japan, Mitsubishi UFJ, Urban Banking Corporation, Japan Net Bank, Minato Bank, HSBC Japan, SMFG, and a dozen more. Once the e-wallet has funds, it is easier for users to transfer funds to the betting sites since most online sportsbook accept Neteller. When registering with Neteller, make sure that currency is set to Japanese Yen, as it cannot be changed later on.
Neteller account users should also request for a NET+card, a prepaid debit card available in different currencies. This is the card users can use when they want to cash out funds from their Neteller accounts through a local ATM. It should be noted, though, that NET+card does not support Japanese yen, but users can still withdraw at any ATM in Yen. Since the card has a MasterCard logo, it can also be used as a mode of payment in establishments that accept MasterCard.
Aside from Neteller, other reliable e-wallets to use in online sports betting sites include EntroPay and Skrill.