Illegal Online Gambling in Japan Sparks Controversy

  • Published: September 18, 2013
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News broke that the 2020 Olympic Games will be held in Tokyo, Japan. As it is natural, becoming the host country for such a big global event means that there will be many changes in many policies in the country, primarily those policies that deal with people's behavior and the representation of the country in the eyes of the rest of the world. Today, we will talk about the gambling situation in Japan and how the authorities are starting to deal with an unregulated online gambling market.

Currently, it is illegal to offer online gambling in Japan, but everyone is aware that the Japanese continue to access online gambling sites. Further investigation lead to discover that internet cafes, similar to those in the United States and Europe, are the ones offering access to online gambling websites.

Recently, there was controversy when an illegal tele-casino was taken down in Aichi Prefecture, in an entertainment district in Nagoya and was charged as an internet cafe. The tele-casino required membership, and members had to pass through steel doors and security cameras in order to enter the establishment. Gamblers were asked to registered with a mobile phone, and they would be granted access once they made a phone call from that mobile device. Inside, there were computer terminals in which several online casinos were running from different jurisdictions around the globe.

All customers would receive free drinks and cigars, and a point system was in place to ensure that gamblers could get rewards and cash out for real money at the end of the session. The manager at the tele-casino said that 80 percent of the establishment's clientele preferred Baccarat, and said the average gambler would spend tens of thousands of yen a night, and only a few high rollers would spend more than that.

A better picture of the situation is painted by knowing that industry experts have suggested that Japan is not likely to become a casino capital any time in the near future, and gambling is still considered an underground activity in the entire country. The closing of the tele-casino as an internet cafe was alarming because there are at least 60 similar venues in the same area, without counting the many more in other parts of the country. As always, doesn't this sound like Japan should regulate the online gambling market, rather than shutting down job opportunities and people's entertainment? Let us know your thoughts!