Japanese Government warn citizens of online gambling crackdown

Japan gambling news - Clampdown on online gambling in Japan

Japan gambling news - Clampdown on online gambling in Japan

The Japanese National Police Agency (NPA) recently cautioned Japanese citizens on the legal repercussions of engaging in online gambling activities.

No matter where the operators of unauthorized internet gaming platforms are located, according to the authorities, they could be subject to prosecution if they are citizens.

According to reports, the Consumers Affairs Agency of Japan and Japan’s NPA reportedly worked together to spread this warning across the nation’s various media outlets. Since the passage of Chapter 23 of the Criminal Code, also known as Law No. 45 of the Japan Penal Code, gambling has been tightly prohibited and regulated in Japan.

The Japanese gambling laws especially forbid orchestrated gambling activities and private lottery ticket sales, with huge fines in Yen and the threat of imprisonment serving as a penalty. Although many Japanese citizens have committed multiple gambling crimes and have been severely punished by the law, many people continue to partake in illicit gambling operations, which demonstrates a persistent lack of legal clarity.

Per current Japanese law, gambling is generally outlawed by Article 185 of the Penal Code, with the exception of gambling on certain events or sports that are specifically allowed by special laws, which are the four public sports; horse racing, bicycle racing, powerboat racing and motorcycle racing, all of which are managed by local governments or government businesses; Japanese football pools, and the public lottery.

These types of gambling activities, however, need licenses to operate, and under the law, as it stands, only local governments or organizations with ties to the government are eligible for these licenses.

The NPA stated that it does not matter whether the citizen is in another country and legally operating a licensed gambling platform.

“Have you ever heard that using online casinos as an individual is legal as long as the site is operated legally overseas? Even if an online casino is operated legally overseas, connecting from within Japan and then gambling on the site is illegal,” NPA stated.

“There is precedence of arresting online casino users for gambling-related crimes. Gambling is a crime. Stay away.”

Moving from its most recent arrests, the NPA has arrested 16 online gamblers in 2016, 16 more in 2020, and 18 in 2019 for engaging in online gambling activities that are illegal according to Japanese gambling laws.

Since the enactment of its Integrated Resort (“IR”) Promotion Law and the IR Implementation Law in 2016 and 2018, Japan has increased enforcement measures against unlawful gaming. This legislation made it possible for three integrated resorts to be built across the nation.

However, these laws are already being offset by bureaucratic holdups involving the Japan Regulatory Commission (JRC) requesting JPY 3.88 billion from the government to operate effectively and carry out their usual regulatory duties.

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