Gambling Regulations in Japan

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Japan’s Criminal Code passed on 1907 in chapter 23 stipulated banning of all forms of gambling but some exceptions do exist. To help local government raise its income and giving people some sort of entertainment, special laws are passed allowing Japanese to hold public sports and lottery.

Koei kyogi (public sports) is a common fixture to Japanese daily life. Koei kyogi are public races that are popular to Japanese people. Special laws allows four different kinds of public sports be held with the supervision of local government or in some cases by government-owned corporations. Among this public sports are: horse racing (Keiba), bicycle racing (Keirin), motorboat racing (Kyotei),and motorcycle race (Auto Race). The winner of the race receives around 75% to 80% of the total ticket sales generated. Tickets can be bought at ticket booths and betting stations are scattered around key cities of Japan namely, Tokyo, Yokohama, Osaka and Nagoya.

Takarakuji (lottery) is held regularly in large cities in Japan. Three kinds of lotteries are held to public all year long. These lotteries are; selected number lotteries, unique numbers lotteries and the scratch cards. Winning prize on lotteries reaches more than 100 million yen and each ticket cost 100 yen to 500 yen depending on what lottery is played. Takarakuji law requires that the total winning prizes be 50% or more of the total ticket sales. Tickets are available at stores and booth across key cities. Tickets may also be purchase through ATM.

A lottery is also held for soccer results this is called “toto” short for Italian word “totocalrio” which means soccer betting. Toto is held on a weekly basis during J-League games. Bettors wage for the final outcome of each game.

Panchinco is a slot machine game similar to a pin ball. This game being part of Japanese cultural history is an exception to Japan’s criminal code. Thus Pachinko parlors are scattered all over cities in Japan and run by private companies.

The object of Pachinko is to let a ball enters a special hole which activates a device in the slot machine to give out jackpot. Players go to the parlor booth to exchange winning ball for prizes. Exchanging Pachinko balls for money is a violation of the criminal code. These prizes come in the form of gold slits and winning player sells this gold at a nearby store for cash.

Some individuals, organizations and within Japan’s Parliament have movements to legalize casino to help bolster Japan’s economy. New laws are being discuss at the Parliament before casinos can be opened.

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