Best Online Casinos In Japan
Welcome to our casino section dedicated to our Japanese gaming friends. Here you can browse through a range of popular online casino brands in Japan and find more information about gambling in the country. Our listed sites are known for their superb choice of online slots and a variety of Japanese favourite live casino games including Mahjong, Dragon Tiger, Sic Bo, Baccarat, Poker, Roulette and many more.
For added convenience, most of these online casinos allow players to load the website in Japanese language and also added local payment options in Japanese Yen (¥) to their banking lobbies. Some brands employ multi-lingual service agents to provide support in Japanese at selected hours.
Most Popular Online Casino Games in Japan
Although most forms of gambling in Japan are either prohibited or strictly controlled, the passion for having a game of chance is as big as in any other Asian nation. Exceptions exist for some gambling activities such as pachinko, local lotteries and a few select types of sports betting. However, it is not illegal to play online at an off-shore casino, and thus, the Japanese online gambling market has been growing virtually unabated. With a culture deeply rooted in tradition, the most popular online casino games are often assimilated to the local favourites.
The origins of the popular card game date back mainly to 19th century France where it was commonly played in the more noble circles. Its striking similarities with the traditional Oicho-Kabu have made it a favourite with Japanese casino players.
In both games, the aim is to reach a score of nine with the cards being dealt by a designated banker or the casino croupier. Bets can be placed on the player, the banker or a tie. The three main variants - Punto Banco, Baccarat Banque and Baccarat Chemin de Fer – are among the most played tables games in land-based casinos in Asia, America and Europe as well as live casino sections at online gaming sites.
Fun fact: The worst hand in Oicho-Kabu is pronounced “Yakuza”, the Japanese word for a gangster.
Mahjong was brought to Japan by a soldier returning from China and rapidly gained popularity in the 1930s. Simplified rules were introduced that gave it the name Japanese Mahjong or Riichi Mahjong. Today, it is the most popular table game in Japan with millions of players hitting the tiles in over 10,000 gambling parlours.
Japanese Mahjong is played with 136 tiles, divided into four sets of 34 pieces - pin (circles), sou (bamboo), wan (characters) and unranked tsū (honour) tiles. With its worldwide popularity on the rise, some reputable online casinos have started to offer Japanese Mahjong games to their players.
If Baccarat is too complicated or too slow for you, then Dragon Tiger is the perfect card game to try. It basically cannot get any simpler as each round involves only two cards, one for the Dragon and one for the Tiger. Players can bet on which card they think will be the higher of the two. In standard variants, a correct guess pays 8:1 while a tie will see you losing half your bet.
The simplicity makes it a perfect game for the live casino section at online gaming sites as multiple players can take a seat on a virtual table. A range of side bets allows players to wager on specific outcomes such as odd or even numbers.
The worlds most played table game originally first appeared in France with Roulette literally meaning little wheel. It dates back as far as the 18th century and quickly spread past the French borders to become a firm favourite with casino players around the globe. Naturally, it found its way into online casinos right from the start of the iGaming era.
European and American Roulette are the most common variants offered in casinos today. Players can place bets on single numbers, red or black, odd or even, zero or a group of numbers known as straights, corners or columns and wins are paid according to the odds.
Lotteries in Japan are called “Takarakuji” (Japanese: 宝くじ). Special points of sale lottery tickets are always open and are organized by the authorities of large cities on a regular basis throughout the entire calendar year.
There are three types of lotteries: a lottery with a unique number, a lottery with the selected number and cards for strikethrough numbers (Scratch Cards).
Each lottery ticket costs from 100 to 500 yen (¥) and the main prizes will offer the chance to win 100 million yen and above. The lottery law states that the prize should consist of no more than 50% of ticket sales, and the rest should go to the income of regional government bodies and charitable organizations.
There are some great options when looking to engage in lottery games in Japan. While these games may not pay the huge jackpots that are found in other countries, they do provide some attractive rewards and they are one of the few legal forms of gambling allowed in Japan.
Here, we take a look at the popular Japanese lottery games that are offered:
Scratch Cards – These are instant win lottery games that can be purchased at lottery stands around the country. Scratch cards have been offered in Japan since 1984 and they remain a popular choice. The most popular card sold for 200 yen includes Scratch Lottery, Mrs Happy Link Puzzles Scratch, and Premium Scratch.
Numbers 3 and Numbers 4 – These are daily lottery games where the player will have to pick 3 or 4 numbers from 1 through 9. A single bet on these games will cost 200 yen and there are different ways to win prizes. Payouts are based on how many correct numbers have been chosen as well as the order of the numbers.
Lotto 6 – This is a draw game that is played twice a week, on Monday and Thursday. Tickets will cost 200 yen and will offer 7 slots to select 6 chosen numbers from 1 to 43. There is also a slot for a bonus number. There have been times where the jackpot for this game has reached 1 billion yen, which will be won by getting all numbers and the bonus number.
Lotto 7 – This is almost the same as Lotto 6, but players will be able to choose numbers from 1 to 37, and there are nine slots to select seven numbers and two bonus numbers.
Mini Lotto – This has become a very popular game that was introduced in 1999. It is a weekly lottery draw game and features 6 slots to choose five numbers. There is also a bonus number available. Getting all numbers in the correct order will earn a jackpot payout, which can range from 6 to 14 million yen.
Jumbo Lottery – There are just four of these games played throughout the year, and each ticket costs 300 yen. Players will choose 6 numbers and a bonus number. Payouts for this game are quite large, so it is the main attraction for lottery fans.
Year-End Jumbo Lottery – This is also referred to as The Nenmatsu Jumbo Takarakuji and it is the largest lottery game in the country. The rules are similar to Jumbo Lottery, but the draw only takes place once a year, on New Year’s Day.
In addition to the lotteries, Japanese love to bet on sports, especially horse racing.
Japanese Sports Betting Online
There are certain forms of sports betting that are allowed in Japan and these are referred to as “kayay kuyogi” events. These include public sports such as racing, cycling such as keirin, boat races and speedway races. They are authorized by special laws and managed by a regional government or government corporations. The prize pool for these types of events ranges from 75 to 80% of all sales. It is possible to place bets in large cities in Japan, including Tokyo, Osaka, Yokohama and Nagoya.
Horse racing in Japan is operated by the Japan Racing Association when races are national events and by a local municipality when they are local events. Both types of races are overseen by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries.
Japan is home to 15 local horse race tracks and 10 national venues.
Boat racing is also legal in Japan and all motorboat racing is operated by The Foundation of Japan Motorboat Racing Association. Fans of motorboat racing can enjoy events that are held at 24 different courses. The JKA operates any and all bicycle racing events as well as motorcycle races.
Pachinko: The Traditional Japanese Game
Pachinko (Japanese: パチンコ) is a gaming machine like a pinball, which is not officially considered a kind of gambling and is not recognized as such by Japanese laws due to historical, economic and cultural reasons. Similar machines exist in all cities of Japan and belong to private companies. If a pachinko player pushes the ball into a particular hole, he activates the slot machine and in the event of winning the jackpot receives additional balls. Players exchange balls for prizes of different value, but not for money, as this goes against the gambling laws in place.
Often, players exchange pachinko balls for products, which are then sold for money at nearby stores. Usually, these shops belong to the owners of the pachinko machines, but as long as the players do not try to get money, they do not violate the law.
In order for any business or establishment to operate pachinko machines, they must receive a permit from the local public safety commissions. The games must all take place in a specialized parlour in a shop where players have the ability to exchange any tokens that have been won for merchandise. Due to the laws that prevent online gambling, there are no pachinko games that are offered online.
The Legality of Japanese Online Casinos
In regards to the legality of online gambling in Japan, there are severe restrictions that are in place and at this time, residents only have the ability to wager online when betting on public sports events or the national lottery.
However, there is still the ability to access online casinos in Japan that are operated in other countries, so Japanese gamblers do have the option of engaging in online gambling activities at any time.
The Japanese government did try to place a ban on these sites, but since the country has no jurisdiction over the sites operating on other locations, there is no way to ban access to the sites, allowing Japanese players the ability to access off-shore casinos and play games for real money.
Japanese Illegal Casinos
While gambling is widely banned in Japan, there is a large number of illegal casinos operating in the country and that in plain sight. Due to the lack of government approval, they are usually geared towards tourists and make use of indirect payment schemes to circumvent the laws.
Much of the unofficial gambling in Japan is connected to or fully controlled by the Yakuza, including organizing “underground” Mahjong tournaments with cash prizes and engaging in debt collection for owners of Mahjong parlours.