Is Gambling Legal in Japan: A Comprehensive Guide

When it comes to gambling, different countries have diverse approaches and regulations. Japan, known for its rich culture and technological advancements, also has its own stance on gambling. In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the intriguing question: “Is gambling legal in Japan?” Join us as we navigate the complex world of gambling laws and explore what this means for enthusiasts and tourists alike. By the way, foreign online casinos are very popular among the Japanese. for example, such as Bons –

The Current State of Gambling in Japan

Gambling in Japan has a long history, with various forms of betting and games being enjoyed for centuries. However, the legal landscape has been a rollercoaster ride of change and adaptation.

Traditional Forms of Gambling

In Japan, traditional forms of gambling like Pachinko, a pinball-like game, and Mahjong, a popular tile-based game, are considered legal and widely enjoyed. These games have deep cultural roots and are an integral part of Japanese leisure activities.

Government Lotteries

Japan also allows government-sponsored lotteries, such as the Takarakuji (宝くじ). These lotteries are a major source of revenue for various public initiatives and are considered a form of legal gambling.

Restrictions on Casino Gambling

When it comes to casino gambling, Japan has taken cautious steps. The government passed a bill legalizing casino resorts in 2018, but the implementation has been slow and deliberate. As of now, there are stringent regulations surrounding casinos, including entrance fees for Japanese residents and limited casino licenses.

FAQs About Gambling in Japan

What is the legal gambling age in Japan?

In Japan, the legal gambling age is 20 years old. This age restriction applies to both traditional games like Pachinko and casino gambling.

Are online casinos legal in Japan?

As of now, online casinos are not explicitly legal in Japan. The government is actively reviewing regulations, but for the time being, it’s a gray area. It’s essential to exercise caution when considering online gambling in Japan.

Can tourists gamble freely in Japan?

Yes, tourists can enjoy casino gambling in Japan without the same restrictions that Japanese residents face. However, it’s crucial to be aware of responsible gambling practices and local regulations.

How are gambling winnings taxed in Japan?

In Japan, gambling winnings are considered taxable income, and the tax rate can vary. It’s advisable to consult with a tax professional for specific guidance on reporting gambling income.

Are there any support services for gambling addiction in Japan?

Yes, Japan has support services for individuals struggling with gambling addiction. The National Hospital Organization Kurihama Medical and Addiction Center is one such facility that provides treatment and counseling for those in need.

Is horse racing legal in Japan?

Yes, horse racing is a popular and legal form of gambling in Japan. It’s governed by the Japan Racing Association (JRA) and attracts a significant following.


In conclusion, the question “Is gambling legal in Japan?” has a multifaceted answer. While traditional games and government lotteries are widely accepted, casino gambling remains tightly regulated. Tourists can enjoy the casino experience, but Japanese residents face several restrictions. It’s essential to stay updated on the evolving gambling landscape in Japan and adhere to local regulations.

Japan’s approach to gambling is a blend of tradition, cautious modernization, and responsible gaming practices. Whether you’re a tourist looking for some entertainment or a resident navigating the legalities, understanding the nuances of gambling in Japan is key to a safe and enjoyable experience.