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Bitcoin Casinos and Sports Betting in Japan


Back in 2017, China and South Korea declared the war against Bitcoin by banning exchanges and crypto payments. In contrast, Japan decided to adopt crypto – the Financial Services Agency recognized Bitcoin as a legal asset in April 2017. Later, the government licensed 11 crypto exchanges as official trading platforms. Regulators work hard to keep Bitcoin both safe and convenient.

With the support from authorities, Bitcoin and other cryptos tend to become more and more popular. By the end of 2018, the Japanese yen is the fourth currency in the Bitcoin trading ecosystem. It covers slightly more than 5% of the global volume. Despite significant hacks (Mt.Gox and Coincheck, to name a few), the crypto community in Japan is on the rise. Among young men from 25 to 30, nearly 14% own cryptocurrency. That’s impressive!

One of the most engaging approaches to adopt crypto is related to the entertainment industry, and, specifically, to gambling. By supporting Bitcoin, online casinos can attract new customers who want to play anonymously on trusted platforms. Check BTC casinos listed on AllhighRollerCasino.com to see how many options are out there for crypto enthusiasts. For now, let’s find out how Japan regulates Bitcoin wagering.

Bitcoin gambling in Japan

While the government focuses on legalizing crypto-related systems, gambling markets are heavily oppressed. Only a few types of traditional gambling are officially authorized in Japan:

  • Betting on public sports. Includes four types of races: horse, bicycle, powerboat, and motorcycle. These bets are authorized by local governments.
  • Lotteries. There are three types of tickets available.
  • Football pools. They are called toto in Japan and refer to the main tournament – J1 League. Tickets are available exclusively in special booths.

As for online gambling, it’s totally illegal. To play, the Japanese have to register on foreign platforms. But Bitcoin gambling is the perfect example of the gray zone of legislation – no laws specify the fact of this activity being illegal.

Regulators and laws

Chapter 23 of the Penal Code prohibits gambling, defines authorized sports, and set penalties. Currently, the main regulator of the cryptocurrency sector and Bitcoin gambling is Financial Services Agency.

Japan actively fights illegal activities: persons who gamble may be punished with a fine of 500,000 yen (slightly more than $4,400), while providers, lottery tickets’ sellers, and intermediaries may expect fines of up to 2 million yen ($17,700) or a sentence of imprisonment from 3 months to 5 years.

As we’ve mentioned above, online Bitcoin casinos are unregulated. The Japanese government begins the long process of authorizing gambling starting from the land-based industry. In 2016, it has legalized brick-and-mortar casinos located on large resorts, which will start working not earlier than 2022.

We can expect more laws regulating crypto gambling in the future, but the situation is unclear at the moment.

Popular markets

The governmental ban on online gambling can’t be effective in terms of Bitcoin casinos because of the decentralized nature of cryptocurrency. Users can easily avoid penalties because their personal data is rarely linked with in-system blockchain addresses.

As far as owning and trading Bitcoin is fully legal in Japan, people can gamble with BTC pretty simply. The main challenge is to find a foreign gaming website which accepts Japanese users and supports crypto.

Bitcoin casinos

There are three ways to gamble with BTC:

  • Find any available platform. Some global casinos licensed by offshore jurisdictions in Malta or Curacao are accessible for the Japanese.
  • Use VPN to access banned sites. However, casinos which don’t accept players with Japanese IPs aren’t responsible for any issues with VPNs.
  • Gamble in decentralized casinos. Bitcoin is a very popular currency on blockchain-based platforms which aren’t regulated by governments. Instead, they offer truly transparent and decentralized systems with provably fair play.

There are websites which support both fiat money and cryptocurrencies. As for the decentralized systems, take a look at Edgeless, FunFair, or TrueFlip.

Bitcoin betting

Similarly to casinos, there are no Japanese local sports betting websites, so gamblers should focus on international platforms. For instance, Dafabet supports yen and Japanese language. Among other popular bookmakers that allow using JPY, there are Betfred, Ladbrokes, and William Hill. But there might be problems with depositing and withdrawing money, which is why betting with Bitcoin is way more convenient.

Since crypto payments become more popular in Japan, users can also wager on decentralized blockchain-based platforms (like Bethereum, Wagerr.com, or Augur), with secure crypto wallets.

Conclusion

The current state of online Bitcoin gambling in Japan is pretty unclear. Officially, all forms of online gambling are prohibited, but Japanese players still can play in foreign casinos, with blockchain-based platforms being probably the best choice. Considering the fact that Japan is moving towards Bitcoin adoption, authorities may allow online wagering with crypto in the nearest future.