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Top casinos in Japan – Online Casinos & Gambling Regulations



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Finding the best Japanese casino online

There’s a lot to keep in mind when choosing a casino online. Many players located in Japan choose their online casinos based on what they can’t get from the licensed gambling options available in the country. Online operators can offer extensive selections of video slots, classic slots, live casino tables, sports odds, and game show games, all of which are unavailable in Japan.

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of online casinos available today, and understanding which are good and which aren’t isn’t easy. These are a few things that will determine if a casino online is good or not.

  • Is the casino site in Japanese?
  • Can you use Yen as a currency?
  • Does the casino offer the games that you want to play?
  • Which license do they operate under?
  • Is customer support available, and are there Japanese-speaking support agents?
  • Do you have a good range of payment methods to choose from?
  • Can locals participate in promotions, receive offers, and join the loyalty program?

Finding answers to these questions might take a lot of time, so we’ve gone ahead and done the job for you. GoodLuckMate has listed all online casinos that accept players from Japan, and we’ve also reviewed them. The reviews answer the questions above so you don’t have to.

Gambling regulation – Integrated Resort Promotion Law & Implementation Law

The government and municipalities regulate any gambling offered in Japan. The Integrated Resort (IR) Promotion Law and Implementation Law were put in place in 2016 and 2018. These laws split the country into “IR-areas” in which certain gambling rights are allowed. There are three IR areas in Japan, and in each region, there’s one land-based casino. Land-based casinos require a license to operate, and this license is only given to IR operators certified by the Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism under the IR Implementation Law.

In Japan today, legal online gambling is betting related, and players can bet on horse races, bicycle races, motorcycle races, and motorboat races. The lotteries are also allowed, both online and offline, and municipal bodies provide these.

Any other form of online casino activity is illegal. Although operators are the ones who are prosecuted for offering gambling, for players, gambling isn’t entirely without risk. The Japanese law states that, if the crimes of the operator are deemed severe enough, players may also be prosecuted. This happened in 2016 and 2017, although the player involved in the 2017 case was acquitted.

As you can see, engaging in gambling beyond what the government and municipalities offer is risky. Players who wish to participate in online gambling are putting themselves at risk. It’s up to players if they want to take that risk or not; we are not recommending that you do so.

Localized online casinos

Although online casinos are not allowed to operate in Japan or cater to Japanese players, there’s a large number of casinos that do offer localized sites for Japanese players to gamble at. Since the law is unclear regarding the legality of gambling on foreign websites, this is something that is rather commonly done throughout the country, with very few repercussions. 

You’ll be able to find casinos in Japanese that offer Yen as currency and that have established payment methods, such as e-wallets or various kinds, credit and debit cards, and bank transfers.

Casino in Japan

If you want to engage in legal gambling, the land-based casinos or the betting options in Japan are the choices that are available to you. There are also thousands of “gaming halls” throughout the country where people can play Pachinko and similar games.

Because the legality of Japanese players participating in online casino gambling at foreign casino websites is still not 100% clear, there is some risk involved in doing so. GoodLuckMate does not recommend that anyone participate in illegal activities, so gambling online is something players choose to do at their own risk if they’re living in Japan.

Nerijus Grenda
Nerijus GrendaUpdated: 17 Mar 2021
Nerijus is one of our top writers here at GoodLuckMate, and he knows exactly what casino players want to read about. He got started in the iGaming industry as a player, more specif...

Dispute resolution – can I get help from a third party?


A gambling license is intended to protect players, and one of its main functions is to provide a mechanism for resolving disputes when they come up. If you have a dispute with a casino, and the casino is being unreasonable, the gambling authority will help you. For many licenses, this means you can contact the gambling authority to get help processing your withdrawals, claiming money the casino has debited from your account, or resolving other disputes that might arise. The likelihood that the gambling authority will help you in ways that are effective, however, depends on the procedures they have in place for this. This is yet another reason why choosing to play at a casino that has a safe license is important.

Getting help directly from the gambling authority is not always necessary, or even an option. A lot of regulators have now enforced third-party dispute resolution. This means casinos must have an agreement with an arbitrator who will look into disputes on the behalf of players from a particular casino. This ensures your dispute will be reviewed by an objective third party. All trusted online casinos have information about arbitration on their websites if they use this option, or they’ll have the contact information for the gambling authority you should consult. However, you should always try to resolve your issues with the casino first, and a lot of casinos have separate email addresses specifically for handling complaints.


Secure payments – can I trust a casino with my money?


If you’re worried about the security of the transactions you’re making at a casino, you should look for a logo with the acronym PCI DSS. This stands for Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, and this is something the payment industry has created. If you see this logo, it means the casino can be trusted for safe money transactions since they follow all of the rules set by the payment industry. Information about this can also be found in an FAQ section on the casino’s website.

Another thing to look out for in terms of payments is where your money is kept while you play. Some gambling authorities, all of the best ones actually, regulate what the casino can do with your money while they are holding it. Your money shouldn’t go into a general bank account held by the casino; it should go into an account that is strictly for holding player funds. This means that as long as you have the money in your player account, it can’t be spent by the casino. Your deposit will be kept separate from the operating funds of the casino until your player account is empty, which will happen if you make a funds withdrawal or if you lose the money while playing.


Fair gaming – do the games give me a fair chance to win?


The best known system tool for ensuring that a casino offers fair games is eCogra; however, there are other providers that also offer these kinds of systems. You want to make sure that the casino is using a certified third-party control system to ensure that the games of chance you’re playing are actually based on chance and not on other types of metrics. Rigged games are ones that have been set up to pay out less than they claim to or ones that give some players a greater chance of winning than others.

The eCogra logo can often be found in the footer of the casino’s website, but not all casinos choose to display it. If you can’t see this logo, go to the FAQs and see if you can find information about random number generators. If there are no FAQs on the site, check out their terms and conditions or contact the casino’s support and ask how they ensure their games are safe.


Encrypted website – how is my information kept safe?


An SSL-encrypted website should be mandatory for any casino, and very few casinos operate without this or similar safe encryption features. Always keep in mind that you are giving the casino quite a bit of sensitive information, including your payment details. When you’re uploading and sending documents to verify your identity, you want to make sure that no unauthorized third-party has access to them. Site security, therefore, doesn’t only include the website itself but also what the casino does on the backend. You should always look into a casino’s data security. You’ll normally find information about this in their terms and conditions and their privacy policy. If in doubt, contact their support and ask for more detailed information.

Most trustworthy casinos have information about site security in the website footer, so simply scroll down and look for the logo of a well-known security system.


Gambling license – can I play at a casino from my country?


The gambling license a casino operates under will have a big impact on your security. Not all licenses are equally safe for players for the simple reason that they are issued by different gambling authorities that work in different ways and have different rules. The rules and regulations may be quite similar, but the way they are enforced is a different story entirely. For example, if a casino doesn’t comply with the regulations, some gambling authorities may just issue a fine while others may revoke the casino’s license outright. How often gambling authorities show up for an unscheduled inspection or control will also vary.

The biggest differences between a safe, high quality gambling license and one that isn’t as good will usually show up in the areas of fair gaming, dispute resolution and the rules and systems for identifying and handling problem gamblers (responsible gambling). If your country of residence has its own gambling authority, playing at casinos that are licensed by them will be the safest option for you. Other international licenses that can be trusted are issued by the Malta Gambling Authority and the Gibraltar Regulatory Authority. Curacao eGaming is getting better at protecting players whereas licenses from Panama and Costa Rica, for instance, are considered less safe. The worst option is obviously a casino with no license whatsoever.


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