Casino Rules And Legislation In Japan

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  • The Japanese government has banned gambling for many years. Despite this, the country is regarded as the ‘mother of modern gambling’.

    Japan’s gambling culture has been evolving ever since the first gambling was recorded in the 7th century. There were movements within the government to legalize gambling to boost tourism in the Land of Rising Sun.

    Today, there is well-regulated casino legislation in Japan. The Japanese Casino Administration Committee supervises and manages the IR operator of Japan. In this article, we will discuss the casino rules in Japan with Gorou Matsuda, a casino industry expert. Read more about Gorou.

    Gambling Laws In Japan

    All privately operated gambling activities, online or land-based are banned in Japan for a very long time. Indulging in any such activities is considered a criminal offense under the Japanese Penal Code.

    A legal gambling game in Japan is Pachinko. The Pachinko machine comprises a wooden panel with pins and a device to launch metal balls.


    Pachinko involves exchanging steel balls with the parlor in exchange for special prize tokens. These special tokens can further be sold for cash outside the parlor, usually at a booth located next to the parlor.

    Interestingly, the steel balls cannot be traded for cash directly which does not defy the Japanese gambling law that restricts gambling for cash in Japan.

    Other exceptions include lottery and certain sports betting like bets on horse racing, powerboat racing, bicycle racing, soccer, and motorbike, as long as they are managed and operated by the Japanese Government.

    What Is The Casino Administration Committee?

    The Casino Administration Committee (CAC) was founded to audit the services of integrated casino resort operators as per Article 196 in Chapter 10 of the Development Act.

    The entity has the power to issue, suspend or revoke licenses of operators and if needed, can even request them to supply documents and reports.


    Gaming Licenses, Certifications, and Taxation for IR

    What is an IR? It stands for an integrated resort in Japan. IR’s are tourist resorts that include a hotel or casino, entertainment shows, fine dining, theme parks, swimming pools, shopping arena’s, and more under one roof.

    With the emergence of such Integrated resorts, casinos are all set to become an indispensable part of the Japanese tourism culture.

    Under Chapter 2, Article 10 (1) of the Development Act, the duration of the integrated resorts in Japan is ten years.

    To obtain a certificate, the resorts should seek approval from their respective prefectures. The operators should renew their permit once every five years. For that, they need authorization from the municipalities.

    The Japanese Casino Administration Commission issues a license. All information including the size and location of the facility, names and addresses of owners, type of gambling activities, and gaming equipment has to be provided by interested operators to the regulator.

    Moreover, the applicant should be credible, above 20 years of age, and should not have any criminal record whatsoever.

    The validity of every casino license granted by the Japanese regulatory commission is three years under Chapter 3, Section 1, Article 43 (1) of the Development Act. In case a company loses its certification, its gambling permit gets revoked automatically.

    Talking about the taxes, the operators have to compulsorily pay 15% municipal tax, 15% of their GGR as national tax, and fixed tax to cover administrative expenses of the Casino Administration Committee every month.


    Entry Restrictions

    Certified integrated resorts have to comply with some restrictions on entry to the gambling premises under Japanese law. Chapter 3, Article 69 states that individuals under the age of 20 should not have access to casinos and the services offered there.

    Is Online Gambling Legal In Japan?

    Just like stand-alone gambling venues, online gambling is also illegal in Japan. Betting on certain sports competitions, races, lotteries is legal as long as it is operated by the authorities.

    Online wagering and online bingo are also considered unlawful in Japan. No Japanese laws mention prohibition on skill and social games.

    Engaging in offshore online casinos is one easy way for the Japanese to enjoy online gambling activities without violating the law. Even the mobile gaming sites allow the natives to get around the laws easily.


    Japanese have found a way to enjoy gambling despite all the restrictions.

    However, before engaging in gambling activities, one should be completely aware of the gambling laws and regulations of the country.