How to Enjoy Gambling in Japan

Gambling is a form of entertainment in which people bet money on the outcome of a game. Gambling is popular as a way to make money while having fun, and in Europe and other countries, sports betting and casino games are commonly practiced. On the other hand, many people may have the impression that gambling is illegal or in the gray zone in Japan.

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This article summarizes the typical gambling that is generally popular in Japan and its overview. If you have ever wondered, “What kind of gambling can I do in Japan? If you have ever wondered what kind of gambling is available in Japan, please read this article.

How to conduct legal gambling in Japan?

Unlike other countries, gambling and online casino are strictly regulated in Japan, as the keywords “black market casino” and “baccarat gambling” were once hot topics in the news. The biggest issue with online casinos in Japan is that they are illegal, hence there are no licensed Japanese casinos available online.

Nevertheless, public gambling such as bicycle races, horse races, and lotteries, which are authorized by the government, and pachinko, which is operated in accordance with the Entertainment Establishments Control Law, are legal and enjoyable. If you use the term “日本 の ギャンブル” which mean gambling in Japan to search on search engines, you will find the many Japanese articles discussing public gambling rules and techniques.

In particular, lotteries and pachinko are very popular forms of gambling in Japan, as they can be enjoyed by anyone over the age of majority and can be found in stores anywhere, regardless of region.

Even though online casino in Japan is illegal, there are reputable foreign online casinos for Japanese players, and finding a JPY casino that will accept your wagers is not difficult. The good news is that you do not have to check for each online casino by yourself as you can find a list of Japanese-friendly gambling sites here.

Types of gambling available in Japan (日本 の ギャンブル)

As I mentioned earlier, even in Japan where gambling is strictly regulated, there are actually many forms of Japanese gambling that can be enjoyed on a daily basis without any restrictions. I will now introduce some of the gambling activities that are commonly enjoyed in Japan.


Pachinko is a major gambling game in Japan, so much so that there are stores all over the country. In pachinko, a ball is played on a board with numerous mechanisms. When a ball is played and enters a certain space, a score is added and a corresponding number of balls are released. You can win cash prizes based on the number of balls you win by playing the pachinko. It’s easy, but when you win, you win, so it’s pachinko.

Hawaiian Dream is a recommended 3×3 pachislot similar to Japanese gambling pachinko, which is not only familiar to Japanese players but also offers a lot of bonus features to add a new level of fun. It is not only familiar to the Japanese, but also has a lot of bonus features that will give you a new sense of fun.


Speaking of lotteries, many of you may have bought a year-end jumbo lottery ticket at one time or another, dreaming of becoming a millionaire. Lottery tickets have been on sale since 1944. You buy a lottery ticket with a number printed on it, and if the lottery number announced later matches your lottery ticket, you will receive a winning ticket from the first to the fifth prize. In Japan, there are stores all over the country, and anyone can easily purchase lottery tickets.

Online casinos from Japan also have a genre of lottery gambling, which is popularly known as lotto and kino. In online lotteries, you can choose some numbers from a set of numbers and win prizes according to the number of numbers you win in the lottery.

Horse racing

Horse racing is a type of sports gambling in which you predict the winning horse, buy a ballot called a horse ticket, and if your prediction comes true, you win the prize money. In Japan, where gambling is strictly regulated, horse racing is operated and managed by the Japan Central Racing Association under the approval and supervision of the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries and with government funding. Gambling horse racing is a very popular form of sports gambling in Japan, as unexpected developments can be seen due to the interplay of various factors such as the condition of the horses and the compatibility between the horses and the players.

Cycle racing event, usu. 2km with a paced start and sprint finish

The mechanism of bicycle racing is the same as that of horse racing, but in this case, you predict the winner of the bicycle race and buy a ballot called a car ticket. Bicycle racing originated in Kitakyushu, and along with horse racing, boat racing, and auto racing, it is a type of public sport and gambling sanctioned by the Japanese government. There are about 2,400 registered racers in bicycle racing, which is said to be the largest number among professional sports in Japan.

Auto racing

Auto racing is an autosport and a form of gambling that is held publicly in Japan. Competitors compete on motorcycles with a displacement of 600 cc (500 cc for newcomers), and spectators buy tickets to predict the winner. As in horse racing, bicycle racing, and boat racing, there are various betting methods, including the single-win system, in which only the first place is predicted, and the double-win system, in which the winner is determined if the predicted rider finishes in the top three.

Boat race

Boat race

Boat racing, like the horse races, bicycle races, and auto races that we have covered so far, is a public sport and gambling. A normal race is held with six boats, and the voting tickets are called boat tickets. It was once started to promote the shipbuilding industry in Japan, but now it has become a popular sport that is held regularly at 25 boat racing tracks across the country.

Sports promotion lottery toto

Sports promotion lotteries are usually called soccer lotteries, and as the name implies, you vote for the outcome of a designated soccer match or the score of the team you are writing about and receive the winning ticket. Initially, only Japanese domestic soccer matches, such as the Emperor’s Cup, were available for wagering, but in 2014, international matches such as the FIFA World Cup were introduced as sports wagering targets, and sales began throughout the year. The odds of winning the toto lottery are not high, but if you do, you can expect to win tens of millions, if not hundreds of millions! The way it works is similar to the way sports betting is done by bookmakers, which is common in Europe. In Japan, sports lotteries only cover soccer, but foreign bookmakers allow you to bet on tennis, basketball, volleyball, table tennis, and other major sports, as well as darts, ice hockey, cricket, and other sports that are rare in Japan.


Now that I have introduced gambling that is legal in Japan, I would like to finish by mentioning mahjong betting, which is actually a very major form of gambling, although it is illegal. Without going into the detailed rules, mahjong is a board game where the player with the most points wins in the end, and the winning player wins the prize by converting the points into a rate. Although it is commonly played, it is considered illegal in Japan betting and is subject to gambling charges, so please be careful. On the other hand, online mahjong is not illegal as the servers are located overseas where gambling is legal and operated legally. If you want to play mahjong betting, why don’t you consider this one?


Now, in this article, I have introduced some of the gambling that you can enjoy in Japan. Did you find any gambling that you would like to try? There are many pachinko parlors all over the country, so you can play pachinko if you want to, and horse racing is a great sport to watch even if you don’t have a gambling mindset.

Even if you are not interested in gambling and do not have any knowledge of sports, you can buy a lottery ticket and wait for the lottery to be drawn, making it easy and challenging.

Although the types of gambling available in Japan are limited, thanks to the development of the Internet, it is now possible to enjoy a wide range of gambling from Japan at online casinos and bookmakers. In particular, online casinos offer 24/7 access to casino games such as roulette, baccarat, and blackjack that can be enjoyed in authentic overseas casinos. This saves you the hassle of flying overseas and allows you to enjoy them in the comfort of your own home!