Understanding Sports Betting and Legality in Japan

Gambling in Japan has a rich history and is an integral part of the Japanese culture. Particularly, public sports betting is legal and controlled by the local authorities. The public sports events include horse racing, bicycle racing, motorcycle racing, and asphalt speedway.

With that said, horse racing is in fact Japan’s most popular sports event, with over 20,000 horse races held every year in the country. Racing enthusiasts wager on these races, securing millions of money. Football pools are also legal in the country under specific regulations. However, online sports betting has not yet been legalized in the country and is prohibited under chapter 23 of the penal code in Japan. Walk with us as we seek to gauge the actual situation of sports betting in Japan.

Popular Sportsbooks to bet on

The illegalization of online sports betting in Japan does not necessarily mean that sports fans in the country cannot place bets on their favorite games. Online sites accept players from Japan, including Betway, Everygame sportsbook, MyBookie, Spin, and Pinnacle.

Online sports betting sites in Japan are popular because gamblers can wager on bets not allowed in their country. For instance, bettors in Japan are tied to parlay-style wagers on games and face an exceptionally high rake from the operators. However, online sportsbooks give players the freedom to place their bets on fixed odds.

When making bets on fixed odds on online sites, you get a higher chance of winning more money if the odds are high. Online sites offer a vast range of markets ranging from individual games to the number of touchdowns in the NFL’s Super Bowl.

Available games

Online sportsbooks in Japan offer various games that you can wager on. Interestingly, you can freely bet on tournaments from all over the world, including major leagues. Some of the available games are:

  • Basketball
  • Horse racing
  • Basketball
  • Rugby
  • NBA
  • NFL

Betting taxes

There are complex laws that regard betting taxation in Japan. When you win bets on horse races, you are subject to taxation. However, the taxes only apply for winnings above 500,000 Yen per year.

Unluckily, the law does not allow gamblers to deduct their losing wagers against their wins. For instance, if you lost 700,000 yen in a particular year and made wins amounting to 800,000 yen, you will need to submit tax.

However, since Japanese authorities do not control online betting, laws about these games are not addressed in the country’s tax code.

Banking options

Most banks in Japan actively block all payments related to online sports gambling since it is not legally controlled. Indeed, you will have access to limited options of making deposits and withdrawals to online sportsbooks. Some of the popular payment methods include:

  • Skrill
  • Neteller
  • Bitcoin

Take home

While online sports betting in Japan is a gray area, there are several bookies offshore, accepting wagers from this country. Several payment options are available to bet on, and betting markets remain diverse.