Japan announces plans to place limits on online sports betting

  • Japanese Government plans to limit online sports betting
  • Comes at the same time as country looks to grow land-based casino sector

The Japanese Government has announced plans to limit online sports betting, reportedly in a bid to curb gambling addiction. The new measures won’t come into effect until 2022 however, so officials won’t be able to gauge the success of the proposed measures for some time.

The laws regarding wagering in Japan are complex and often confusing, not least because the Pacific nation seems to have something of a love-hate relationship with the pastime.

japan sports betting

While many Japanese are extremely fond of gambling in all its forms, problem gambling remains a serious issue in the country. As a consequence, the government finds itself obliged to balance its obligations to its citizens as well as to gambling operators.

Casino industry growth

The state of Japan’s casino industry has come in for a lot of attention of late after the government announced plans to introduce land-based casinos.

The legalisation of casino gambling has been tipped to usher in a gold rush among major operators seeking to gain a foothold in the country.

When it comes to online gambling, meanwhile, sports betting is legal but restricted. Punters can wager on races only including horses, bicycles, motorbikes and powerboats.

Betting limitations

When the reported new proposals come into effect in 2022, a number of limitations will be introduced including a cap on the maximum amount that each customer can wager. There are also moves afoot to remove ATMs from land-based betting premises, designed to take place with immediate effect.

So far, two of the country’s three cycle racing tracks have complied and by March 2018 the remaining ATMs at betting facilities will be obliged to disable their cash advance function.

Even pachinko, which is hugely popular in Japan, hasn’t been exempt from the crackdown that is sweeping across the country: soon the number of silver balls the machines dispense as prizes will be reduced by a third.

Stringent conditions

While the Japanese government has bowed to public pressure and consented to issue licenses for land-based casinos, these too will come with stringent conditions. The restrictions that will govern the country’s forthcoming bricks and mortar casinos appear to have been sensibly thought out however, with the intention of safeguarding problem gamblers.

Family members can request that relatives at risk are barred from entering the premises for example. Given that the first Japanese casinos might not open their doors until 2024, these protections, like the new laws pertaining to online sports betting, won’t come into effect for many years yet.

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