Most forms of gambling are basically banned in Japan. However, there are some exceptions – lucky for gamblers, and for the state as well. Horse racing, for example, is legal, and it looks like it is about to help out the government, so it is good for Japanese politics too.
We know a lot about Japanese cuisine, we love sushi and miso as well. The Japanese work ethic is also something widely known and widely appreciated. Their culture is something very distinctive as well, so we do not have to go into details about that either. But many do not know much about gambling in Japan. Or even Japanese politics and its connection to horse racing in the country. Although they do have a connection that worth looking into!
Horse Racing in Japan
As stated above, most forms of gambling in Japan are banned – by the Criminal Code chapter 23. Luckily, there are some ways of gambling that are exceptions. You can, for example, place some bets on Bet365 for some horse races and certain motorsports. Special rules are applied to public sports, the lottery, and toto to increase the incomes of governments (both national and local). So, as you can see horse racing does interfere with Japanese politics, in ways you would not think about. To go into details about horse racing, in Japan they call it Keiba, and it is a popular equestrian sport. Each year they have over 21,000 horse races. They have three types of racing in the country: flat racing, jump racing, and Ban’ei Racing (also called Draft Racing). The Japan Racing Association (JRA) and the National Association of Racing (NAR) are the bodies organizing the races.
Horse Racing in Japanese Politics
The last year has not been easy on any businesses – and even on governments. Several authorities around the world are going through a rough phase because they have huge deficits in their finances. This is why they started to look for new ways to improve their situation. And they already noticed that there is one field of business that did not suffer much from these hard times. You might have guessed: yes, this is the gambling business. Online gambling sites in Japan even reported a growth in their revenue. This is why the regional governments in Japan decided to take part in the flourishing of online betting. And they are using local horse races to improve their manhandled finances with increased revenues in taxes. An official at the NAR said: “Horse racing can contribute to local finances and we consider it our mission”.
No spectators, more bettors
For the last year, there were not many sports events that spectators could participate in. But according to reports, it did not stop wagers from betting on them! Well, the online sportsbook sites in Japan are open and safe, after all. The NAR, for example, reported that for the 2020 fiscal year, proceeds from local races were 912.29 billion yen (around 8.4 billion dollars). This means a 30% year-on-year increase, which is highest than it has been for 30 years! It is nice for a bad year, is not it? This means, that the lack of events did not take the spirit of wagers, they are still enthusiasts to visit sportsbooks like Bet365. And it also means that horse racing has, even more, to contribute to Japanese politics through the governments.
And the organizations are willing to help, as to Kawasaki Racecourse. Yasuhiro Senda, secretary-general of Kawasaki Racecourse said: “As the local governments have been facing financial challenges, we increased the number of profits distributed to them, rather than reserving them as internal funds.”