Many Japanese residents like to indulge in various gambling activities but unfortunately, the authorities adopted a very strict approach towards this recreational activity until recently. With time passing, the situation started to take a new turn and currently, Japan is taking steps to regulate its gambling market.
According to statistics, the Japanese market has great potential. Industry insiders project that it will become the third largest in the world, after Macau and the USA. It is estimated that the Japanese casino market will generate $8 billion in gross gaming revenues yearly.
Gambling in Japan
Japan has a fantastic history when it comes to gambling that can be traced as far back as 685 AD. Evidence shows that Emperor Temmu was fond of a dice game also known as sugo-roku. Later on, the game was prohibited by his successor Empress Jito. However, gambling did not disappear from this majestic country.
Unfortunately, since 1907 gambling in Japan is illegal. The country has always been very strict when it comes to games based on chance. In that sense, people were allowed to place bets only on horse riding and bicycle racing. Later on, Japanese residents could wager also on motorbiking and boat racing that were included in the list of the “Public Sports”.
This, on the other hand, gave rise to a huge number of illegal gambling venues related to the criminal organization Yakuza. Needless to say, the Japanese Treasury did not benefit in any way from these under-the-counter gambling activities. Currently, the Japanese gambling market is governed by Article 185 of the country’s Penal Code.
Japanese-Friendly Payment Methods
Nowadays, most of the virtual casinos employ diverse payment solutions aiming at providing convenience at a maximum level. Casino enthusiasts can make deposits and withdrawals via the method they are most familiar with or they are already using. Usually, virtual casinos feature some globally accepted and proven payment solutions.
When choosing which payment method to use, keep in mind that some of the options support only deposits. If you are a Japanese resident and you are wondering which is the best choice for you, read the lines below where we will discuss the pros and cons of various payment solutions:
Bonuses and Promotions for Japanese Players
You might come across web-based casinos that offer similar games and payment methods, but the bonuses are what sets each gaming site apart from the others. Always select a casino that offers various promotions available to new registrants and already existing players. The VIP program is yet another benefit that can boost your winning chances.
But do not forget that each casino promotion comes with certain wagering requirements. Even if some promotion looks lucrative, its wagering requirements might be huge. In that sense, always check the bonus terms carefully and decide if the bonuses are worth claiming them.
Welcome bonuses are offered to newcomers who set up an account at a certain casino and make a minimum deposit. The sign-up promotions might come in the form of a deposit match bonus, free spins, or both. What is more, some might even cover your first three, four, or even five consecutive deposits.
Usually, the Welcome Bonus is the most generous, so players are advised to benefit from it. It is important to mention that this bonus is available only once upon registration. Players should keep in mind that the deposit funds are not valid for all different types of casino games.
3No Deposit Bonuses
By offering no deposit bonuses, the casino operator is trying to whet the appetite of new players. These incentives do not require any deposit and allow you to play for free at a certain gaming site. What is laudable here is that you can even win real money with it. It is important to mention that these no deposit bonuses can be used on a particular game.
What is more, to withdraw your earnings, you need to clear the wagering requirements associated with the incentive. Another important thing to mention is that casinos that offer such promotions usually set a limit on the maximum cashout you can withdraw.
4Sticky Bonuses vs No-Sticky Bonuses
Sticky bonuses are not cashable. You can play with them, but you cannot withdraw the bonus funds you received from claiming the incentive. On the other hand, you can pull out your winnings in case you comply with the bonus terms. No-sticky bonuses are the ones that you can withdraw together with the profits you accumulated thanks to them.
5Payment Method Bonuses
Some casino operators that would like to promote a certain payment method offer a special incentive in case you make your deposit via this method. Most often you will see special promotions for cryptocurrency users. Since we are on the matter, we must note that some casinos do not allow players who deposited via specific certain payment options to benefit from the available bonuses.
Japanese players who have been loyal to a certain casino will be able to benefit from a VIP program in case the operator offers it. Such loyalty programs come with various perks. Depending on the amount you wager, you will receive comp points. These comp points can be exchanged for free cash for playing at the casino or for other prizes. Some casinos require you to apply for the VIP program, while others automatically include you in it. The more points you accumulate, the higher VIP level you will reach.
Casino Terms and Key Notions
Prior to claiming a bonus, it is essential to carefully read and understand the terms and conditions associated with it. To make life easier, we will explain some of the key notions you need to keep in mind.
- Minimum deposit – it is the minimum amount of money players are required to deposit to their gambling accounts to claim a deposit bonus. It is important to note that the minimum deposit to qualify for a certain promotion might be higher than the minimum deposit to start playing at a certain gaming site.
- Validity period – when you claim some promotion you should know that you will need to clear the wagering requirements within a specified time frame. In case you fail to do so, your bonus funds and the winnings associated with the bonus will be forfeited.
- Playthrough/wagering requirements/rollover – this is the number of times you need to wager the bonus funds. Players should keep in mind that the playthrough might apply to the total sum of the bonus and the deposit. As long as a bonus is active and you are working your way through the wagering requirements, your earnings will be stored in a bonus balance and you will not be able to withdraw them before you clear the wagering requirements.
- Game weighting – not all games contribute equally towards the playthrough. Usually, table games such as roulette and blackjack contribute less than slot games. Generally speaking, it is the percentage of the bets you make that will count towards the playthrough.
- Maximum bet size – when you activate a bonus and start working on clearing the wagering requirements, you should keep in mind that the casino allows players to place bets up to a certain amount. This is called a maximum bet size. In case you go over the set maximum bet size, the casino has the right to forfeit the bonus and the profits associated with it. The maximum bet size is designed to prevent casino operators from bonus abusers.
Popular Software Providers
When choosing a web-based casino to play at, we always recommend our readers to have a look at the software providers that power a certain gaming site. Namely, the software companies give life to the casinos. No online casino develops its own games. Instead, the operators collaborate with various software companies to power the site’s gaming content. This, on the other hand, ensures that the casino operator has nothing to do with the outcomes of the games.
The software companies develop the games and decide what storylines, quality, and features to incorporate. Having some basic knowledge regarding the software brands that power a certain casino is beneficial for you in many ways. In the lines below we will discuss some of the most popular software providers.
Top 10 Online Casinos in Japan
The iGaming market is flooded with various web-based casinos. Hence, it is not surprising that players might get confused when choosing an interactive casino to indulge in their favorite activities. Generally speaking, most of the gambling websites look pretty much alike – flashy signs, bonuses, and games. But in fact, you should focus on what lies beneath the surface in order to make the right choice.
The first thing you need to pay attention to is the casino’s license and which software companies power its gaming library. Afterwards, have a look at the available games and decide if these are sufficient enough to keep you entertained. The available promotions are also important as these will help you maximize your winning chances. We made a list of the 10 online casinos we consider to be the best choice for Japanese players.
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Find the answers of questions people asked so far:
Has Japan legalized any forms of online gambling at all?
While online casinos are still considered illegal in Japan and there are no operators that have been locally licensed, the Japanese Racing Association and Japanese Lottery are the only exceptions, with both of them allowed to operate online. Both of these activities are state-owned and people who have registered with the Japanese Revenue Agency (JRA) can make lottery bets online by linking them to their personal banking accounts. While Japan does not consider Pachinko a form of gambling, it is definitely a game that shares some similarities with games of chance. This is probably the reason why online Pachinko has become extremely popular in recent years in Japan, with players having nothing to worry about as Pachinko is still considered very much legal in Japan.
Can players from Japan place bets at offshore online casinos if they are licensed and regulated in other jurisdictions?
No. There has been some misunderstanding that Japanese players can join an offshore online casino and place bets legally since the brand operates legally overseas. However, in 2022, the National Police Agency (NPA) of Japan issued a reminder to Japanese people, notifying them that even if they join a legally operated offshore online casino, if they are accessing the website from Japan, this still counts as illegal online gambling. The NPA also reminded that if Japanese people use VPNs to access offshore online casinos to play for real money, they are participating in illegal online gambling activities and can face serious penalties for breaking Japanese law.