- Özgür Töre
Online gambling is a global phenomenon, but the rules and regulations surrounding casino and sports betting sites vary considerably between countries.
In Japan there may be a long history with gambling, but modern governments have preferred to severely restrict just how much gambling and betting Japanese citizens are permitted to do.
This is slowly changing, with several enormous casino resorts planned to be built around the country. But what is the situation with online gambling? In the influx of new online casinos, do we find any Japanese new online casinos? And if so, to what extent are Japanese players at liberty to use these sites? Let’s take a look.
Japanese new online casinos - legal or not?
Technically speaking, online casinos are not legal in Japan. However, the laws preventing them are firmly aimed at providers rather than players. What this means in practice is that, while there are no online casinos that operate from Japan, many foreign sites welcome Japanese players. Those who choose to use these offshore operators face negligible risk of prosecution.
Despite the fact that gambling has always been wildly popular in Japan, overseas casino sites have been slow to provide a good service to players in the country. Until recently, Japanese online casino users have had to put up with poor translations, no customer service in Japanese, and a lack of original content.
Thankfully this is no longer the case, and casino fans in the country can now find a large number of existing and new online casinos with exclusively curated content for the Japanese market. This includes popular games, special bonuses and promotions, transactions in yen, and availability of Japanese-speaking live dealers and support agents.
Tips for Japanese players - finding new online casinos
Since there are no legally-operated online casinos based in Japan, there is no Japanese online casino licensing body either. This situation can leave players vulnerable to rogue operators, as their only option is to play at overseas sites. Before signing up with an online casino, it is important to do some homework to find a trustworthy operator.
The first thing to consider is reputation and track record. For many well-established online casinos there is a lot of information available already - customer review websites, unbiased professional write-ups, reports from independent auditors and so on. At new online casinos it can be harder to find out these particulars.
In this case, licensing is key. Potential players must check that their casino of choice is licensed and regulated by a well-known and globally respected gambling oversight agency. A valid and up to date license from a respected regulator is a guarantee for customers - that the site is secure, the games are fair, and that players are always protected.
Casinos that are unlicensed are to be avoided at all costs, as players are at risk of rigged games, unfair terms and conditions, failure to honor bonuses or payouts, and lax online security. It is also a good idea to check if a site appears on any online blacklist, which can indicate a poor track record.
Games at Japanese casino sites
Many international casino operators have created special versions of their sites that cater to players in Japan. As well as the language and currency, this often includes more versions of games that appeal to Japanese audiences. Slots are universally popular, and fairly similar to the pachinko games familiar to anyone in Japan.
Aside from slots, players at Japanese online casino sites can find versions of dragon tiger and sic bo, popular across East Asia, as well as global favorites like poker, baccarat, blackjack and bingo.