Based in Japan and want to play casino games with crypto? Check out our JP crypto gambling guide and claim huge welcome bonuses.
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While gambling has been rising in popularity, that doesn’t mean it’s legal to gamble in every country. Many countries outright ban gambling. Others simply impose strict guidelines to regulate gambling. Japan falls somewhere in the middle of the two extremes. Gambling at a land-based casino was legalised in 2018 by the Japanese government. However, it’s legalised as an exception to the Act that bans gambling.
Article 185 of the Penal Code bans all forms of gambling, with only three exceptions. In 2018, the government passed the “Act for Development of Specified Complex Tourist Facilities Areas”. This Act legalised gambling in designated areas. However, the local government must licence the establishments. With the new exception passed into law, many local and foreign brands started setting up gambling establishments. This move was to take advantage of Japan’s rich gambling culture.
However, it’s a different matter when it comes to online gambling. In the strictest legal sense, online gambling is only illegal for Japan-based online casinos. Local gambling service providers aren’t allowed to offer services to Japanese players. However, the law doesn’t explicitly state that it’s illegal for Japanese players to play at offshore casinos. There’s some controversy surrounding this grey area. Many believe the general ban on online casinos includes offshore casinos.
Japan is one of the countries that moved to accept cryptocurrencies. There’s even speculation that the creator of Bitcoin is Japanese. In Japan, digital currencies’ legal status is determined by the currency’s functions. So cryptos and utility tokens are regulated by the Payments Services Act and deemed a “Crypto Asset”. Meanwhile, security tokens representing shares and investments are electronically recorded transferable rights. The Financial Instruments and Exchange Acts regulate these tokens.
Bitcoin has become accepted as an approved money type, with several crypto exchanges hosted by Japan. Japan also moved to regulate this digital currency better. They created a regulated and safe market where crypto-asset entities can thrive. You’ll even find advertisements for cryptos in Japan. All this translates to is the Japanese market welcomes cryptocurrency and makes it more accessible to people. Some of the most popular cryptocurrencies available are Bitcoin, Ethereum and Ripple.
This acceptance of cryptos also means it’s easier for online casinos to accommodate crypto players. Many offshore online casinos already offer cryptocurrency. Bitcoin, especially, is a popular payment method on these platforms. Japanese players can also use these cryptos to play, seeing as Bitcoin and other digital currencies are available in Japan.
If we go far back into the history of Japan, then it’s clear it had a rich gambling culture. Back in the 8th century, we find a game similar to backgammon enjoyed by Emperor Tenmu. However, in the 13th century, nine edicts were passed that banned gambling. Yet, there were some exceptions for high-ranking officials and samurais.
Fast forward to 1718, when petty gambling was legally allowed again, and bets under 50 “mon” and lotteries were approved. The Pachinko game was invented during World War II and quickly became extremely popular. Today, it’s still a viral game, with over five million pachi slots and pachinko game machines available in Japan.
Another popular game introduced to the Japanese market in 1924 is Mahjong. These days, more than 8,000 mahjong parlours can be found across Japan. However, the Criminal Code was passed in 1907 that bans most forms of gambling, excluding the lottery, pachinko and horse racing. This ban led to many illegal gambling establishments operating underground.
In 2016 and 2018, the Integrated Resort (IR) Promotion Law was passed, which legalises land-based casinos under specific conditions. Along with the famous pachinko parlours, land-based casinos offering slots and table games are starting to crop up in Japan.
The new land-based casinos and pachinko parlours further support the rich gambling culture. However, as Japan takes a step forward in legalising land-based casinos, it seems to take a step backwards when it comes to online casinos. While the law technically has a bit of a grey area regarding the legality of offshore casinos, the Japanese Prime Minister doesn’t seem to think so.
In June 2022, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida stated that online gambling, no matter the form, is illegal. Anyone caught participating in online gambling could receive a fine. However, the reality is that currently, no tangible regulations on offshore casinos are in place. The government also isn’t actively enforcing this law.
While there might be some confusion surrounding offshore casinos and their legality, that doesn’t stop Japanese players from enjoying these platforms. Many different casino games are available to players, with slots being one of the most popular casino games. While Mahjong is undoubtedly the most popular gambling game in Japan, it’s not often offered at online casinos.
That’s why slots took over the role of a gaming favourite, offering a wide selection of games and often easy to play with cryptos. You can find almost any theme and bonus features like free spins and Wilds when you spin the reels. Slots have become almost the online equivalent of pachinko in terms of popularity, attracting more players every day.
When we consider table games, one of the favourite games for Japanese players is poker. It’s a high-stakes game that takes skill and offers different exciting variations. It’s followed by baccarat and lottery games as the next favourite. Of course, we also can’t forget about roulette and blackjack, which also enjoy popularity in the Japanese market.
The live dealer versions of these games also fall pretty high in Japanese players’ favourite games. As the technology used for live dealer games improves, so does the popularity of these games, especially in Japan.
Bonuses like no-deposit and matched deposit offers are frequently seen on online casino sites. It’s an incentive to attract new players and keep existing players happy. It’s no exception for Japanese players, as crypto casino bonuses like free spins or matched deposit bonuses offer a boost to your playing ability.
However, bonus terms and conditions are a requirement for all bonuses, from capped winnings and eligible games to wagering requirements and minimum deposits. These terms must be satisfied if you want to withdraw your casino funds. So ensure you read the terms before you claim any bonus and start spinning the reels.
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