Gambling Trends in Japan in 2023


Japan has had a tumultuous history when it comes to gambling. While people in Japan have always loved gambling and have enjoyed playing games like Hanafuda, Pachinko, dice games like Suguroku, and even Mahjong for centuries, the various forms of law in the country have always taken somewhat of a negative stance towards the act of gambling.

In modern years, gambling has resurfaced in Japan and is considered very popular. Most people prefer to play online games, and we’ll explain why soon. Considering the popularity of gambling in Japan, let’s look at the country’s legal stance on gambling and explore the current trends and overall gambling scene there.

Laws Regarding Gambling in Japan

Gambling has been frowned upon by the ruling elites in Japan for a long time, and even though they have done their utmost to try and keep it out of Japanese culture, the Japanese themselves really love gambling, it seems.

When Empress Jito first banned all forms of gambling in 689 AD, it set a precedent that has gone on to shape Japanese culture. At present, the law prevents Japanese people from partaking in gambling in casinos – in fact, they aren’t even allowed on the premises. However, that hasn’t stopped many Japanese from flocking to online casinos that can be played in the comfort of their own homes. While the law doesn’t allow online casinos to operate from within Japan, it doesn’t prohibit citizens from accessing these offshore sites to either play casino games or bet on sports.

A recent study conducted in Japan proved that roughly 2.88 million people in Japan gamble online, which is around 2.3 per 1,000 citizens.


Current Trends in Gambling in Japan

Gambling in Japan has gone through a lot of changes over the years. While there are many Japanese who enjoy sticking to classic Asian games like Pachinko, Hanafuda, and Mahjong simply because of cultural preferences, a lot have branched out into more traditional Western-style games.

At the moment, it looks like the most popular games in online casinos in Japan are:

  • Baccarat
  • Poker
  • Dragon Tiger
  • Live Dealer Games
  • Slot Games
  • Roulette

Many believe that this is because Japanese players are seeking to try and re-create the feeling of being in a real casino as closely as possible, and this would explain why so many prefer live dealer games.

Every online casino targeting the Japanese market is looking for ways to make their games look and feel more like the real experience. That’s great news for Japanese players who are looking for more realistic and entertaining games for them to play, and means that there’s likely to be a boom in the Japanese sector of the industry in coming years.

Japan also permits citizens to bet on a few sporting events, specifically various kinds of races run by the government. Of these, horse racing is the most popular, generating ¥3.25 trillion in just one year, and Japan is known worldwide for its horse racing scene.


While the land of the rising sun has not always had the best of luck when it came to their battle with regulations regarding their ability to gamble, the modern era has at least managed to usher in a fun and easily accessible option that citizens of Japan can now enjoy without much hassle.

It will definitely be interesting to see how the world of online gambling changes in the future and whether the local government will ever loosen the restrictions on gambling for locals, but for now, it looks like online gambling in Japan is here to stay. There are also plans to open Japan’s first casino on Yumeshima island in Osaka Bay towards the end of 2030, so who knows how gambling laws might change as this date approaches.

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