Japanese people love gambling and all kinds of games of chance, and although Japan casinos are not plentiful due to governmental regulation, gambling is very popular with Japanese and foreigners alike. The Japanese have a long history of gambling, often involving traditional games that are not known outside its borders, and furthermore, they love to bet on sporting events such as horseracing and baseball. Consequently, current political moves to liberalize the Japan casino industry are likely to place Japan at the forefront of the Asian gambling market.
One of the most popular games of chance in Japan is called pachinko, a game like pinball, which is played by millions of Japanese in “pachinko parlors” all through the country. Pachinko machines offer lucky winners the chance to exchange their tokens for goods or money on the premises, and trillions of yen are spent every year on this most popular of pastimes. Indeed, it is estimated that more money is generated by this game than several of Japan’s top car manufacturers combined.
Due to tight government legislation prohibiting casinos as such, Japan casinos are currently obliged to operate online, an industry which is fast growing into one of Asia’s biggest, and also on cruise ships and boats operating in international waters, thus circumventing the restrictions on land-based gambling. There are moves afoot to change the rules on gambling to allow Japan casinos to be established throughout the country, offering not just basic gambling facilities, but also operating as entertainment and retail malls in their own right. This will generate extra revenue and provide customers with a more satisfying leisure experience. Furthermore, many proponents of casino reform in Japan feel that liberalizing the rules on gambling would make the country even more attractive to tourists, especially considering the number of casinos operating in other countries in the Far East.
In addition to traditional forms of gambling, Japanese people love to wager on sporting events, and in particular on horse racing; big races can regularly attract huge crowds, sometimes in excess of 100,000. The Japanese also gamble on cycling and other sports such as soccer, and in addition, there is a government lottery that offers maximum prizes of around a billion yen. Consequently, there is already a thriving gambling scene in Japan, and with the anticipated changes in the rules, it is surely not long before Japan casinos find themselves at the forefront of the Asian gambling industry.