SiGMA

Japan warns online gambling is a crime punishable by jail

Posted: Oct 27, 2022 10:58 Category: Asia , Online , Regulatory , Posted by Sharon Singleton

Japan’s National Police Agency has warned the public to stay away from offshore online gambling sites, warning that it is a crime punishable by a hefty fine, or even a jail term. 

In a statement earlier this week, authorities warned that even if an online site is legally operated overseas, gambling by connecting from within Japan is a crime.

The punishment for gambling can be a fine of up to 500,000 yen ($3,430), or up to three years in prison for habitual gamblers, which it classifies as those providing access for Japanese to join online sites.

Japan seen as more lenient

Aside from the Philippines, no Asian jurisdictions have regulated online gambling, while in some it is specifically deemed to be illegal. Although Japan has no regulatory framework, the authorities had been largely turning a blind eye to the practice and it has been seen as one of the most promising markets in the region.

There also had been widespread speculation that Japan, which is in the process of establishing a casino market, would also move to broaden regulations on online gambling.

At present, Japanese are able to bet on horse racing, motorboat racing, bicycle racing and lotteries, both in person and online.

The police statement points out that there has been a nationwide crackdown related to online gambling, with 18 arrests in 2019 and 16 in 2021. 

Authorities across Asia regularly crackdown on online gambling sites, with China being especially vigilant. Earlier this week, South Korea said it had smashed a ring worth $3.9 billion, with servers based in China targeting South Korean nationals.

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