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Casinos in Japan

In Japan we have limited forms of legal gambling. These include takarakuji lotteries, J-league betting with Sports Toto, and pari-mutuel betting on Japanese racing; horses, boats, cycling and motor racing. As far as casino gambling goes, the closest we have is pachinko and now more recently token casinos. I will explain those briefly in the conclusion section of this article, but the focus of this piece is mostly on those found online.

Using Japanese Language

Before you play online, you should know that there are no domestically licensed Japanese casinos. Our government does not regulate online gaming. This means the majority of gaming companies targeting our market are unregulated. No one is checking to make sure the games are fair or that winners are paid.

In fact until quite recently, the majority of companies did not target Japanese customers at all. However, as the market here has been growing year on year, more and more operators are now offering Japanese language casinos. We’ve listed our top 3 just below.

For guaranteed fair games it is important to bet with companies who are licensed in a country with a strong gambling commission. Some areas that come to mind are the Philippines, United Kingdom, and the UK’s overseas territory Gibraltar. These all have strict regulatory bodies that ensure the operator is solvent and that their games are audited for fairness. The sites listed below are all heavily regulated and operate in Japanese, English, and several other languages.

  • Rank
  • Site
  • How to Deposit
  • Language
  • Visit Site
  • 3
  • 138.com
  • Bank Wire / eWallet
  • Japanese / English
  • www.138.com

Depositing

No matter which site you choose, you first need to make a deposit in order to gamble. Every time you make a bet, the amount is taken from your account balance. Let’s say you deposit ¥25,000 and then sit at a live dealer roulette game. If you place a ¥500 wager on five different numbers, then this ¥2,500 comes right off your account balance leaving ¥22,500. If the ball lands on one of your numbers you get back that ¥500 stake plus winnings of 35-to-1 (¥17,500). This brings your balance to ¥22,500+¥500+¥17,500=¥40,500.

There are many ways to add money to your account balance. Credit Card by Skrill allows you to instantly deposit using a Japanese credit card or debit card. Another method is www.neteller.com. This is discussed in detail in my article on Japanese sports betting. The information in that article is well worth reading as NETELLER works like an online bank account and also comes with a MasterCard debit card. You can deposit and withdraw using NETELLER. Any money in your Neteller account can be cashed out at an ATM, by bank wire or can also be used both online and offline anywhere that MasterCard is accepted.

Which Should I Choose?

The three online casinos suggested on this page were carefully selected. Each is different in where they are based and what they offer. The choice of which one to use depends largely on personal preferences. In this section I provide some brief details about each.

Dafa888 – Most Japanese Features

dafa888www.dafa888.com is an all in one gambling site focused on all of Asia. In addition to their casino they have a full poker room available in many languages including English and Japanese. They also offer betting on sports from all over the world including J-League soccer, NPB baseball and JBL basketball.

The Dafa lvie dealer casino offers blackjack, roulette and baccarat. These games use the latest technology to broadcast live video feeds from a studio, where the games are hosted by a real dealer and a physical gaming table. This means you can bet, watch the cards being shuffled and chat or interact with the dealer, all in real time.

Dafa888 is owned by Asian Logic which has been in the gambling business since 2002 and is one of Asia’s largest gambling operators. In 2007 they floated on the stock exchange in London for the equivalent of roughly ¥10.2 billion. Today they have over 600 employees. The Dafa brand is licensed in both CEZA (Philippines) and the UK territory Isle of Man, and is approved to legally offer online gaming to many countries in Asia. The bottom line is that they are a very reputable company.

10Bet – UK Licensed + JPY Currency

10Betwww.10bet.com is the only website listed on this page that supports Japanese yen (JPY) currency. With the other sites there is a small currency exchange fee to pay when depositing and when cashing out. This is avoided when using 10Bet. Their casino is also top notch as it uses the well established MicroGaming Software. This has 80+ slot games, live dealers, and plenty of table games. It is available instantly without download which solves most compatibility issues when accessing from various devices such as smart phones and tablets.

The fact 10Bet is licensed in the United Kingdom is a huge plus. All around the world legal systems are based on English Common Law. In the UK there are multiple layers of protection for the player. First, only reputable companies are licensed. Secondly, only the most respected auditing companies are used; each casino is required to have one of the approved auditors check their software for fairness and faults. From here all gambling debts are enforceable, and players are fully protected by strict laws in the event of any dispute.

Future of Casinos in Japan

As mentioned there are no legal casinos in Japan. This is true both online and offline. What we do have is an increasing number of token casinos. An example is Akiba Guild which is located in the Akihabara district of Tokyo.

Akiba Guild charges ¥2,000 to enter, but this comes with a free soft drink and 300 chips. You can use these chips to purchase food and drinks, and to gamble at games such as blackjack, roulette and baccarat. You can also play a Japanese poker version of Texas Hold’em. When you’re finished – any chips you haven’t spent on food or drinks, or managed to lose, can be redeemed on the seventh floor for various prizes.

To be honest, these are more a form of entertainment than they are real gambling. Pachinko parlous on the other hand, are where the serious gambling takes place in Japan.

Pachinko (パチンコ) is an arcade style game that is similar to western style slot machines. We fire balls into the machine and can win more of them depending on how the game plays out. As this is hard to explain, you can search pachinko (or パチンコ) on Youtube to see how it works. The bottom line is that this is gambling. The balls can be redeemed for prizes which keeps it semi-legal. They can also be redeemed for tokens which can be exchanged around the corner at an offsite redemption centre for cash.

pachinko parlour

Pachinko parlours are found throughout Japan and take in more than $250 billion every year

There are approximately 15,000 pachinko parlors nationwide. According to Reuters – an international news agency headquartered in London, pachinko earns operators about ¥20 trillion annually. That’s about the same as Toyota Motor Corp earns per year. The exact figure can’t be quantified as the pachinko market here remains almost entirely unregulated.

Approximately 100 lawmakers, most of them with the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) strongly support legalizing casinos in Japan. This would make sense because currently revenue is going to pachinko operators where it is difficult to track revenue, or overseas where other governments get the taxes. In fact, 2012 official tourism data from Macau showed 158,312 Japanese arrivals that year. While there are talks something might happen in the next couple years, similar discussions have been in the news for over a decade now. At the current time, and for the foreseeable future, the only regulated casinos that can be played in Japan are those found online. Remember to regularly check AsiaBet.org for all the latest Asian gambling news.