Gambling History Of Japan – From 636 AD To 2023


Posted: March 17, 2023

Updated: March 17, 2023

  • Nintendo and gambling
  • Yakuza gambling market
  • Gambling history of Japan

This article is dedicated to discovering the gambling history of Japan. We will travel back to the reign of Empress Jitō to the modern times when Nintendo made playing cards and not video games. Furthermore, we will debate the possible future and the measures the Government took to push back the gambling reign of the Yakuza. For lovers of gambling and Japanese culture, then this article is a must. Learn how to gamble legally in Japan.

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In this article, we are going to talk about the gambling history of Japan. This means that we are going to go back to the times of samurais and dynasties. However, today you can browse online gambling sites in Japan to find all available information. Because the law forbids land-based gambling.

Receiving money from a legal operator outside of Japan is not illegal. Keep in mind that this only applies to the users. Therefore, you shouldn’t try to register a gambling company in Japan. Democratic politicians are trying to legalize gambling. However, this political debate is nothing new to the world. And we will explain how Japan has experienced legislative actions.

Gambling history of Japan

The Dark Times Of Gambling History of Japan

Let’s start by saying that the Asian gambling culture is fully different from Japan. Even if they share their general ideology about banning the game. They all wish to create their own space in which people can win cash on chance or skill. During the Years 646–703 AD, Empress Jitō (Unonosarara) decided to ban gambling. However, this decision came after she observed the previous Emperor. Because she is the wife of the previous Emperor who passed before her time. In conclusion, her husband, Emperor Tenmu (Ōama) loved gambling.

According to Robert Whiting, sugoroku was a game similar to backgammon. Which you can still try in the available live casinos. The common belief was that playing Sugoroku can lead to the crumbling of society. Therefore, low-ranking officials were whipped. Criminals and poor people were even executed for playing the game. 

First Legalization In The 1700s

After reading through the PENAL CODE (Act No.45 of 1907), I assume that the legalization of gambling was not successful. Because there was a brief attempt of making gambling legal during the 1700s. Which was the first important mark in the gambling history of Japan. Yet the time was so brief, the penal code has re-established a full ban lately. In conclusion, Japanese people couldn’t gamble until the internet.

Or can they? According to Business Insider, Pachinko has generated more money than in Las Vegas. Generally, this is a game that offers pay-for-skill. However, the skill is so hard that it might as well be a gambling game. Whenever there are gaming houses in Japan, they look different from slot machines.

Gambling history of Japan

Nintendo In The Gambling History of Japan

With the aforementioned penal code, the gambling market of Japan has closed. But we all know that a legal restriction is not going to stop risky people from monetizing market demand. This is how three different types of gambling have come to the surface in Japan. Some companies have tried to exploit law by creating machines similar to slots. The second tier is card game manufacturers which monetized by selling cosmetic products people could use for personal gambling.

Therefore, the company did not break the law. Yet everyone who bought the cards and used them was likely breaking the law. Today Nintendo is a household video game company. But they started by selling these beautiful hand-painted cards. The gambling game is called the Battle of Flowers 

A Part Of The Yakuza

We have explained the first two illegal categories in the gambling history of Japan. But what was the third category? Of course, it is the infamous Yakuza. The Japanese mafia has decided to monetize illegal gambling activities. From hosting betting to playing card games, nothing was out of limits. And of course, the game was fully illegal. Those who won might have won a whole fortune. Yet they played with criminals.

This means that sooner or later the winners who were not a part of the Yakuza were probably getting in trouble for winning. And if they tried to contact the police? Well, they confessed to illegal gambling. According to Japan Times, there is a state-run lottery called Takarakuji. If I have to guess, they have created this lottery to give something so people do not turn to illegal gambling groups.

Gambling history of Japan

Today In The Gambling History of Japan

We must all understand that history and time did not stop with us. Therefore, today is someone else’s past. This means we have to explain how you can play gambling games today. Because gambling is still prohibited and illegal in Japan. However, no one was ever punished for playing online. This means that you can bet on the most popular sports in Japan. 

Therefore, the gambling business is legal as long as the company is not established on Japanese lands. What If you find a casino or sportsbook operator outside of Japan? Sure, the government is not going to track you down if you get a cash withdrawal from these sites. This is why we recommend you register at 22BET Sportsbook. Because you can play any category of gambling under their domain.

The Possible Future

Now that we have discussed the full gambling history of Japan. Let me dedicate a little section to the possible future. Because we have the best sports teams in Japan with their fans. I am sure they all want to bet on them when an event occurs. Furthermore, the internet opened a whole new world to people. Where they no longer have to walk anywhere to find entertainment. Add the newfound research to the pile and we are all set.

Because many countries and parliaments believe that it’s not the activity, but the unhealthy advertisement that makes it dangerous. Therefore, I believe that someone shortly will make gambling legal in Japan. But of course, someone else will ban it right after. This is the cycle of our life and history. 

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