Gambling has been a mainstay of Japanese culture for centuries, and remains so to this day. Many Japanese gambling enthusiasts have a preference for Pachinko parlors, but the turn of the new millennia also saw the advent of Internet casinos.
Japanese law does not technically allow Internet gambling, but individuals cannot be prosecuted for placing bets at sites licensed outside of Japan. This is why many online casinos offer their services to Japanese players, allowing them to safely deposit and withdraw funds, as well as enjoy hundreds of top-quality casino games, ranging from slots to table games, lottery and scratch cards, as well as sports betting.
In a landmark legislative move, land casinos have recently been legalized in Japan, meaning the future looks bright for online casino enthusiasts as well. We may soon look upon Japanese-based online casinos, but as of right now, you are free to gamble at any off-shore licensed online casinos.
As a Japanese player, you can expect many online casinos available in Japanese. These casinos also boast many security measures, and boast trustworthy licenses issued by the Malta Gaming Authority, the industry’s number one regulatory body in terms of trustworthiness.
Japanese online casinos boast massive bonuses for new and existing players, hundreds of top-quality games, 24/7 customer support and a wide range of banking options. If you are looking to get started, have a look at our list of pre-approved Japanese online casinos. You can also look at our individual reviews for more details before deciding on where to play.
No matter your choice, you can rest assured you will be playing at a safe, regulated website with a proven track record of thousands of satisfied gamers. As you read below, you will also learn more about the country’s history of gambling, legal status, and additional information on games and Japanese casino websites.
The advent of mobile smartphone devices brought forth many positive changes in the world. The industry of online gambling has been largely affected by this wind of change as well, and many operators were to adapt by offering users mobile-versions of their previously desktop-only online casinos.
Nowadays, online casinos accepting of Japanese players all offer smooth-functioning mobile websites and/or standalone apps for Android, iOS, Windows Phone and Blackberry smartphones and tablets.
In fact, there are even some smart watch casinos as well, but their popularity is yet to withstand the test of time, and many have their doubts whether smartwatch gambling will take off. Japan is often at the frontier of technological advancement in many fields, including smartphones. The country’s primary operators often have over 95% scores of 4G availability. Average connections go as high as 40 Mbps, and upload speeds average around 10 Mbps. This means speed, but 4G also comes with stability. As such, Japanese gamblers can reliably enjoy online casinos no matter where they’re located. This is why smartphone gambling is becoming increasingly popular, following worldwide trends.
According to Wikipedia, Japan ranks #18th in the world by smartphone penetration, as over 55% of the country’s population owns a smartphone, meaning over 70,000,000 smartphone users. Japan is big lover of Apple products, and the top 10 most used smartphone devices are all iPhones. The iPhone 7 and 8 are the most popular models, followed by the 6S, the iPhone X, the iPhone 7 Plus and the iPhone SE.
When we judge online casinos, mobile compatibility is a great factor. While all modern online casinos offer mobile support, the quality of said support is also important. How well does their site run on mobiles? Do they have mobile live chat, payment options? The quality of mobile games? These are all important criteria we look at to provide you with the best Japanese mobile casinos on the market.
Japan has a long gambling history, as the country itself is very old and ripe with history, culture and tradition. Earliest gambling records in Japan go as far back as the 7th century, as historical writings show the Japanese emperor Temmu played sugo-roku, a game of dice similar to modern-day backgammon, as a way to pass the time. His successor, Empress Jito, was quick to ban the game not long after ascending to the throne.
Yet, the middle ages (750 – 1200 A.D.) show an exponential rise of gambling popularity across Japan. People were placing bets on literally anything: horse races, cricket fights, cock fights, and so forth. The trend continued throughout the years. Throughout the 1600s and 1700s, individuals with poor social standing would even face death penalties for gambling offenses. Yet, the government’s strict offensive towards gambling was not proving effective. This led to a bill in 1718 that categorized gambling in two forms: light betting and big betting. This meant that casual betting was starting to become overlooked by the government, whereas big bettors would be the ones to face legal punishments.
In the 1900’s, Japan stopped isolating itself from the outside world, which opened the way for many other games from different countries to make their way into Japanese culture. One such case is mahjong. The game arrived from China, and is still wildly popular in Japan today. One game which has endured the test of time in Japan is Pachinko. The game’s name and rules have been changed many times throughout the years, but it still accounts for the large part of all bets made in the country. Pachinko is a slot machine game that resembles pinball. For various cultural and historical reasons, as well as monetary ones, the Japanese government does not consider Pachinko as a criminal gambling activity.
In the game, players can accumulate balls which can be exchanged for various prizes, but not money, as that would make the game illegal. However, this is bypassed as many of the prize tokens given by the Pachinko parlors can be cashed in at nearby exchange shops for real money. Often times, these exchange shops and the Pachinko parlors are owned by the same company. Yet, the government turns a blind eye to this public secret, which highlights their leniency towards gambling. There are over 12,500 Pachinko parlors on Japan’s territory, and despite some backlash from members of the government, this mini-industry keeps on thriving, and Pachinko parlors account for over $350 billion in placed bets on an annual basis.
Up until very recently, the only legal forms of gambling in Japan was betting on scratch cards, lottery and sports (only horse racing, bicycle racing, motorcycle racing and various water sports racing). Chapter 23 of the Japanese penal code disallows all other forms of gambling, and penalty for first offenders can reach up to 500,000 Japanese yen, whereas repeat offenders may face up to 3 years in prison.
Although these punishments are harsh, they are rarely enforced. In rare cases where individuals have been prosecuted for gambling, they have gotten a mere slap on the wrist with a minor fine. Therefore, Japanese people heavily engage in online gambling, and many online casinos are accepting of Japanese players. A large number of online casinos are available in Japanese, and offer the Japanese yen as a currency of choice. Japanese banks don’t allow transactions with gambling establishments, but there are many ways to get around this, such as e-wallets and cryptocurrency.
In Japan, Pachinko gambling is very popular, but it does not fall under gambling laws, as this activity is considered for amusement purposes. The same can be said for lottery, mahjong and toto betting. In 2016, after a drawn-out legislative process, the Japanese government legalized land-based gambling. This landmark move will see the opening and licensing of 3 land casinos on the territory of Japan by 2020. The casinos will also have a license to hold shopping malls, hotels and restaurants. This legislation is heavily inspired by the country’s hosting of the 2020 Summer Olympics, as it will certainly boost economic revenue due to the influx of tourists.
Experts estimate that initial annual revenue of the industry will reach $40 billion, with potential for a lot more, as Pachinko parlors’ annual gambling volume exceeds $350 billion. The future seems bright for Japanese players, but despite legal grey areas, Japanese people can already enjoy the benefits of online gambling without fear of serious repercussions.
Throughout Japan’s long history, several types of games have endured the test of time and remain popular gambling choices to this day. The most prominent game in Japan is Pachinko, which is technically not a gambling game, but a venue for entertainment. Yet, Pachinko generates huge profits across the country’s 12,000+ Pachinko parlors.
Many dice-based games have been historically popular in Japan. Yet, they have waned as of late in favor of Pachinko. Betting on sports, especially racing sports, remains a very prominent part of Japanese gambling culture. Japanese people enjoy betting on horse races, motosport racing, bicycle racing – to name a few. In terms of online gambling, Japanese people have a much more convenient access to their favorite forms of gambling, and can enjoy a wide variety of activities such as:
The number of offshore licensed online casinos Japanese players have access to is simply too high to count, which is why making a choice may be difficult if you are on your own. This is why we are here to help and make this process much easier for you. Our list of recommended casinos means you don’t have to worry about a thing besides playing. However, read on if you are interested on learning more about our review process, and the most important factors we look at when determining the quality of an online casino.
Online casinos that serve Japanese customers are some of the most reliable operators on the market, holding a license by the Malta Gaming Authority, the UK Gambling Commission, Cyprus and Gibraltar. Occasionally, Japanese online casinos are also licensed in the Isle of Man and Panama, which are also respectable licensing bodies that regulate casinos serving hundreds of thousands of customers on a daily basis. As such, the factor of security should be of no concern to you. Your personal information will be kept safe at all times, whereas your deposits and withdrawals will be processed without fail and as soon as technically possible.
Many leading online casinos that cater to the Japanese player base are available in the country’s domestic currency, and offer the Japanese yen as a currency players can operate their accounts with. However, many off-shore online casinos welcome Japanese players, but are available in English. You can still play at these casinos with no restrictions if you have basic mastery of English.
Customer support at online casinos offering services to Japanese players is generally on a fantastic level, by offering players multiple channels of support via live chat, telephone and e-mail. What’s more, the quality of customer support is also at an admirable level. This means friendly and professional support agents that will do their utmost to resolve your query in no time. In addition, live chat response times are generally no longer than a few minutes.
The online casinos that serve Japanese players are often licensed by European regulatory bodies, meaning they open room to be powered by industry-leading software providers in the likes of NetEnt, Microgaming, Quickspin, Rabcat, Thunderkick, Yggdrasil, and many others. What does this mean for you? A choice of virtually limitless games coming in all shapes and sizes, meaning entertainment for months upon months on end. What’s more, theses gaming providers keep raising the standards of quality by releasing new games on a regular basis.
Japanese players love their slot machines, and fortunately Japanese online casinos are rife with slots of all manners: Classic, Video and Progressives. This means hundreds of top-quality slots and nigh endless hours of entertainment.
Table Games are always a prominent inclusion for Japanese players to relish, including the staples in the likes of Blackjack, Roulette, Baccarat, Poker and many of variants stemming from these classics.
Video Poker is not exactly popular in Japan, but as these online casinos cater to different audiences from around the globe, players can usually find and play the most popular titles in the likes of Jacks or Better, Joker Pro, Deuces Wild, and so forth.
The Live Casino is a next-level gaming experience for any table gaming enthusiast. Often powered by the industry leader Evolution Gaming, Japanese online casinos offer gamers an immersive experience like no other by way of HD streams, innovative Table Game variants and a virtually limitless set of tables open tables 24/7.
Bonuses remain a detrimental factor that make one casino stand out over another, given all other aspects are equal. This is why Japanese online casinos will aim to entice newcomers with tasty welcome bonuses, often paired with free spins, as well as on-going promotions in the form of match bonuses in the aim of retaining existing customers. In summary, you can expect plenty of bonuses at Japanese casinos.
The Welcome Bonus trumps all other bonuses in terms of value for your money, and it is almost always worth claiming, given fair wagering requirements are in place. Japanese online casinos will often double your initial deposit by way of the Welcome Bonus, and give you an excellent boost of your bankroll that will go a long towards extending your profits.
Slots are the most popular game type out there, which leads to Free Spins bonuses becoming a natural inclusion of nearly every Japanese online casino. Typically, you will be offered Free Spins on a certain set of slots. The cash won by way of Free Spins must be then wagered in order to be considered withdrawable. Often, Free Spins are bundled with the Welcome Bonus as further enticement to newcomers.
The No Deposit bonus is not commonly offered to Japanese gamers, but when you come across one, there is no risk involved in claiming it. This bonus type has strict restrictions, such as a maximum cashout limit, and a tougher wagering requirement breakpoint, but they are still a good chance at winning free money.
No. The Japanese government does not tax gambling winnings, regardless of the amount won or lost. Taxes will only apply if you are considered a “professional gambler”, in which case your winnings are regarded as income, thus liable to taxation.
In many cases, online casinos that accept Japanese players also allow the use of Japanese yen as their primary account currency. In cases whenever the yen is unavailable, however, you can still play using a different currency. But, keep in mind that minor currency conversion fees may be applied to your deposits and withdrawals.
Online gambling is widely illegal in Japan, but the government does not prosecute individuals who place wagers in off-shore online casinos. In fact, unlike many countries, Japan does not even attempt to block online casino sites. Therefore, their approach is very lenient, even though gamers are technically breaking the law by gambling online. Generally, when legal action is taken against online gambling, it is the operators who are at risk, rather than individuals who have placed online wagers.
Yes, many Japanese online casinos have huge gaming libraries which can be played for free or for real money. Free play i.e. “Fun Play” is a separate mode of most online casino games. There is no time limit for free play, and the game’s mechanics and payouts are exactly the same as in the real money versions. Fun play is a great way of testing out games before playing them for real. The only games that are unavailable for free are live dealer tables, for obvious reasons.
Absolutely. The online casino competition is at an all-time high, with hundreds of operators fighting to attain new players and retain existing ones. One of the best ways to achieve this is through bonuses. Therefore, as a new player, you can always expect a generous welcome bonus that will give you a significant kickstart by doubling your bankroll. Beyond that, you will also be offered various free spins bonuses, reload and cash back promotions and the occasional no deposit bonus.
Fees are generally non-existent in the online casino world, and only in rare cases applicable to Bank Transfer withdrawals. This stands true for Japanese players as well. If using an e-wallet, you will only be liable to minor sub-charges that will amount to 1% to 2% of your transaction. If your transaction involves multiple currencies, a minor currency conversion fee may also be applied.
All online casino players must verify their identity before they are able to request withdrawals, regardless of their country of residence. In rare cases, you may be paid out without the need for verification, but only if a small payout is in question. It is always recommended that you verify your identity as soon as possible at your online casino of choice. This is usually completed by sending relevant documentation to the casino’s support team, typically in the form of a photo or scan of your personal ID and a utility bill to your name that is no older than 3-6 months.
This depends on the payment method you are using to cash out your money from the casino. In general, e-wallet payouts are the fastest, ranging from instant payments up to 24-48 hours. In contrast, credit and debit card payouts will certainly take a few business days to process, and direct Bank Transfers even longer than that. Nonetheless, all payment methods are safe to use, but if speed is your priority, then Neteller, Venus Point and iWallet are your best options.
Japanese players have a variety of options for deposits and withdrawals at online casinos. These include Bank Transfers, Credit and Debit Cards, as well as E-wallets. We will list the most commonly used Japanese online casino payment methods.
As you can tell, the variety in e-wallet options is excellent across the board. Neteller recently reintroduced its service in Japan, but Skrill is still unavailable. PayPal is only available to company owners, thus it will be largely unavailable for online gambling. E-wallets are generally the preferable options for all online casino players, regardless of their country of residence.
This is because e-wallet deposits are instant, whereas withdrawals take up to 24 hours. What’s more, e-wallet transactions charge negligible fees, regardless of the amounts being paid out to your account.
Cryptocurrencies are also an option to consider, the most popular ones being Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum and Litecoin. The downside is that crypto wallets are a bit more complicated to set up and use. On the flipside, cryptocurrency transactions benefit from being completely anonymous, blazing fast and low on fees.