Japanese News Outlet Says Players Not Aware Online Gambling Is Illegal
Japan legalized land based casino gambling in 2018 but it appears that it will take a few more years before the first licensed brick and mortar casino opens its doors to the public. While land based gambling is still a few years off, online gambling in Japan has increased significantly, especially during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Asahi Shimbun which many Japanese believe is the most respected newspaper in the country published an interesting article recently which said iGaming has grown significantly in Japan even though it is currently banned by law.
The report said that Japanese players were spending a lot of time and money on offshore gambling websites as they were not aware that it was illegal for them to play at licensed casinos based out of Japan.
The popular newspaper’s research was done with the help of SimilarWeb, an Israeli digital analysis support company. They looked into how many Japanese were using overseas gambling websites and they were surprised at the numbers.
One focus of their study was the popular casino site Vera & John. The gambling website has come a long way from 2018 when it had 648,000 Japanese visitors. By November 2020, there were 49.38 million players.
Vera & John has a Curacao gaming license and encourages Japanese gamblers to enjoy their games in a safe and secure environment. This is a similar line that most offshore casinos use on their websites to assure Japanese players that they are playing in a protected and secure environment.
While online casinos are popular with Japanese players, sports betting is also growing rapidly in Japan. Bet365 has the biggest market share in the Japanese market. In July 2020, over 13 million Japanese visited the sportsbook which is licensed in Malta.
Most of these online casinos and sportsbooks accept cryptocurrencies that allow for easy payments. However, when players decide to withdraw their winnings to their bank accounts, they attract the attention of the authorities. The police have already taken steps to curb the stem of online gambling in the country. Gambling on overseas sites is a breach of criminal law and a number of arrests have already been made.
Players Not Aware It Is Illegal
One major problem for Japanese law enforcement is that their citizens are not fully aware that it is illegal to play at offshore gaming sites. The International Casino Institute sent out a survey in December and it revealed some interesting facts.
The most troubling statistic is that only 41 percent knew that online gambling was illegal, while 18 percent believed it was legal and another 41 percent thought it was in a legal gray zone.