Online Casinos Becoming More Popular in Japan

If you are looking for casino lights in Tokyo’s glitter, you will find none. This is more noticeable when exploring Tokyo’s famous nightlife.   Japan’s strict gambling laws prohibit playing for money,  as well as money bets on sports outcomes.  Online casinos have become the popular alternative for players who want to enjoy poker, blackjack and other casino games.

Strict Gambling Laws

Japanese laws prohibit most gambling games and gambling venues. There are no land-based casinos in the country.  The only permitted gambling is on public games including horse racing, motorsports, boat racing,  and motorbike racing. The government also allows lotteries for public charity benefits and boosting local government revenues.   Pachinko is the most popular pastime. 

The closest thing to land casinos is poker parlors. Even in these parlors, you cannot win cash prizes. Players win tokens that they exchange for money. There are private and discreet poker rooms that are mostly open to member-only invitees. You also cannot win money prizes, but points which are ranked for ‘gifting’ winners with rewards including cash tokens.

Online Casinos

However,  Japanese gamblers can access online casinos operating in the country.  Japanese laws do not restrict offshore registered online casinos.  Players can deposit and withdraw their money using different popular methods such as credit/debits cards.

Visit for a beginner’s guide on how to get started with online casinos in Japan.   There are over 50 online casinos that are accessible by Japanese players.  Some are in the Japanese language for ease of use.
All the popular slot and table games are available in these casinos.  You can play roulette, blackjack, craps, Dragon Tiger, Sic Bo, video poker, stud poker, three card poker, stud poker and baccarat. 


Poker is perhaps the most popular casino table game in Japan. Apart from private poker rooms, Japanese poker players also organize private poker games through social media networks.  There is a vibrant poker community that is also active in online casinos.

Japan poker players have the Japan Poker Association which organizes poker tournaments online and on land. The biggest poker games are in the  Japan Open Poker Tour, and the All Japan Poker Championship. There are no money prizes for these tournaments, but equally prestigious rewards, among them, getting a set at the World Series Of Poker main event.  Japanese Naoya Kihara won the 2012 WSOP main event.

Japanese poker players can participate in either cash or tournament poker. In the cash games, you can play at any available table whenever you want. You can also leave the table when you have had enough. It is a more popular way to play for many Japanese poker players.

You can also participate in tournament games. This format is restricted to players who qualify in the lower levels. Tournaments invitations go through the Japan Poker Association to players who have made a reputation in both land and online poker games.  Invited players are required to buy into the tournament at a particular cash price. The cash is turned into tournament chips.  Tournament players can only exit the game when they lose, or when the tournament completes.

Slot games

Slot games are the most popular casino games in japan. Slots rules can be followed easily by non-English speakers because they only have to follow pictures.  Themed video slots are very popular because they have popular figures from TV shows, movies and songs.


Online casino popularity has also grown because of their generous bonuses.  First-time deposits are matched up to 100%. Some online casinos also match the first deposit bonus up to $2,000.   Free spin bonuses are also very popular for online slot games. Compared to land casinos, online casinos offer more promotional rewards.

Online Mobile  Casinos

Most online casinos can be accessed on smartphones. The player can play on the phone’s browser or native iOS and Android apps.  Mobile casinos have become popular because of the advantages they offer.  They offer more convenience of playing on the go.

Changing of Gambling Rules

Japanese gamblers will soon have a less  restrictive gambling environment. The parliament voted to change gambling laws in 2015. The new regulations will allow the establishment of land casinos, which will have all the popular games.
For now,  if you want to play casino games while in japan, pick one of the several online casinos targeting the Japanese market. The good thing is that as more online casinos come into the market, players will access better betting markets and bonuses.


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