Japan really is a must see destination. It is so popular that more than 31 million people visited in 2019. Of those, approximately 150,000 each month were visitors from the US. 

With the main draws being the food, the history, the culture and amazing sights such as Mount Fuji, Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial and Tokyo’s Imperial Palace.

But what about if you want to let loose and have a little flutter while on your vacation?

What you can’t do

It may seem very negative to start by saying what you can’t do, but please stick with us because there is a point. 

Japan is and remains a very conservative country, with a long held disapproval and scepticism when it comes gambling. Because of this, Japan’s gambling laws are very strict, especially compared to the US. 

If you were thinking to pop into a casino during your trip, you might want to think again (at least for now) because there aren’t any.  However, in 2018 the Japanese government made changes to the gambling laws which permitted 3 casinos to be built in the country. So far 8 districts have shown an interest in having a casino – which must be built as part of a resort. 

And in January 2020, a committee was set up to assess the bids and the companies interesting in building these resorts. Therefore, going to a casino in Japan could only be a few years away.

What you can do

Japanese laws strike a fine line between what are seen as skill games, which are usually legal, and luck games, which are usually not. 

The number one played game at the more than 20,000 gambling halls in the country is a very Japanese game called Pachinko, a strange cross between a slot and pinball machine. Pachinko is seen as a relaxing and destressing game for the Japanese. For visitors, the lights and sounds of a Pachinko hall a unique and a must see while in Japan, especially for fans of anime.

Pachinko, along with the lottery – which is known as Takarakuji – are the only luck based games permitted in Japan. However, unlike in the US where you have to be 18 to play (21 in some states), in Japan there is no age limit – although some kiosks have signs that say they will not sell to anyone aged under 17.

Of the non-luck based games, the most popular thing allowed is sports betting. With the most common sports being bet on including horse racing, motor racing, boat racing and cycling. Because of the strange nature of the Japanese rules, although it seems as if betting on the Sumo would seem possible, sadly it is not. However, you can place a bet on the soccer pools, known as Toto.

Last, but not least, even though there are currently no casinos in Japan (even online), it is not an offence for Japanese people or visitors to play online casinos based in other countries. It is for this reason many casinos have specific games, offers and online casino bonuses in Japanese

What will you do on your trip?