Since the start of 2000, which was two decades ago, there have been many movements in Japan to open casinos to boost tourism in Japan. Yet, until 2018, opening casinos were illegal in Japan. The culture has been going on even today with many new sports betting scandals having reported on baseball by sumo wrestlers.

A building to house a casino in Odaiba was offered in a proposal by the former mayor Ishihara in 2000. Although there was high public interest, the idea wasn’t approved for further proceedings. Out of all the arguments, one prominent issue was that it would hinder the development of the nation. While according to another case, it also says that the people were not used to gambling, and it might lead to addiction. Ishihara also supported the idea of a floating casino or boat gambling. This would incur huge benefits and increase the revenue to the tourism sector.

casino in Odaiba

However, in 2018, a bill was approved by Japanese lawmakers to officially allow casinos in Japan. The plan was proposed for three casinos in an integrated resort form to be established at various locations. Although casinos had got a green signal from the Japanese government, there were many restrictions by the government imposed on casinos through IRs. This included that the Japanese locals could visit the casinos only three times a week or ten times per month. While, on the other hand, Japanese visitors would be charged 6,000 yen as an entry fee. These steps were taken to help discourage addiction through gambling.

Lately, in January 2020, the Casino Administration Committee was established by the Japanese government. It is said that this committee is responsible for supervising and managing Japan’s IR overall operations. It is now operating for the cabinet as an external department. This committee will be taking care of granting out the casino licenses and will be able to revoke them if required. It will also be allowed to investigate operators and related officers if needed.

There are a few rules that should be followed by the people for entering a casino entry into a casino facility, customers’ ID, types of gaming, promotion and advertisement, comps and junket business.

While there are many restrictions for casinos, there are a few games which are an exception to the criminal code like horse riding and some motorsports. However, there are a majority of games which are allowed in casinos worldwide but aren’t in Japan. Here’s a list of which games are prohibited and which are not:


Casino gaming (including slots and casino table games such as roulette & blackjack)
Fantasy betting

Only online betting on horse races, bicycle races, motorcycle races and motorboat races operated by the Japanese government or municipal bodies is permitted.

Horse races and other sports
Lotteries that are issued by the municipal bodies that are sold via Internet

Horse races

Not specified

“Social” gaming with no prize in money or money’s worth
Skill games and competitions with no element of chance

To sum up, all these factors have affected the casino system in Japan, and hence, casino culture is not very popular in Japan.