Best Online Casinos in Japan – Full Guide

Gambling is popular in Japan, despite there still being a ban on most casino operations and games in the country. The explanation is that as a Japanese gambler, you are allowed to play at online casinos operated abroad, and this keeps the market open and booming. Online casinos available for Japanese players are packed with exciting bonus offers, games and gambling experience, and their popularity increases on a daily basis.

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Top Rated Japan Online Casinos

Top Rated Japan Online Casinos

There are hundreds of online casinos available to Japanese players, but it is important to find a site that works for you. We have composed a toplist of gambling sites that generally suit Japanese online gamblers, with games deemed popular on the Japanese market, top payment methods used in Japan and much more.

The following list includes casinos that are popular also outside Japan and Asia, but with focus on finding sites offering the ideal gambling conditions for Japanese and Asian players.

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Is Gambling Legal in Japan?

Is Gambling Legal in Japan?

At this point in time, most gambling operations are considered illegal in Japan, and they are banned under Chapter 23 of the Criminal Code, which is also known as Law #45 of the Japan Penal Code. The code excludes a few forms of gambling, and you can legally play Pachinko, bet on a few different types of motor sports as well as on horse racing.

The reason games like Pachinko are legal is that these aren’t considered gambling but a type of gaming, similar to when playing video games. Traditional Pachinko games also don’t pay out in cash but in prizes and tickets, which can then be cashed in stores that are not directly affiliated with the gambling house.

 

Japan gambling

Legal to Gamble at Off-Shore Online Casinos

Additionally, there is a loophole for Japanese online gamblers. It is not necessarily encouraged, but it is legal for people in Japan to gamble online, as long as the casino isn’t operated in Japan. Choose a gambling site operated abroad (which is the case with most online casinos) and you can safely gamble to your heart’s content.

To gamble at online casinos, you still need to comply with other rules just like anywhere else in the world, such as being of legal gambling age (18 in Japan) and providing accurate and truthful personal details for verification purposes.

The Importance of Following the Rules

There are, undoubtedly, illegal gambling houses and sites in Japan, but it is best to stay clear of these as illegal gambling can lead to hefty fines and even jail time, and that’s not something you want to put yourself at risk for. Instead, it is best to stick to online casinos operated abroad.

Japanese Gambling Authority, License and Jurisdiction

Japanese Gambling Authority, Licence and Jurisdiction

Gambling licenses is a way for a casino to prove that they meet safety expectations in terms of using Random Number Generators for fair game outcomes, SSL security encryption to protect your personal information and more, and you can find this information in the terms and conditions and sometimes listed in the footer of the site.

Due to the gambling restrictions in Japan, you won’t find any Japanese gambling authorities and you’ll instead have to keep an eye out for foreign, trustworthy licensing agencies. See examples below for licensing authorities you can trust.

  • Malta Gaming Authority (MGA)
  • UK Gambling Commission (UKGC)
  • Kahnawake Gaming Commission
  • Gibraltar Licensing and Regulatory Authority
  • Curacao E-Gaming Licensing Authorities
  • Alderney Gambling Control Commission

As a Japanese gambler, it is even more important to make sure you only gamble at sites that are properly licensed, as you might not get much (if any) help from the government or local law enforcement if something goes wrong. Our top listed casinos are all licensed by one or several of the above mentioned authorities.

Japan online casino licence

Famous Casino Games in Japan

Famous Casino Games in Japan

Even though there aren’t really any Japanese online casinos, there are still some casino games that are more popular in Japan compared to others. One of the most famous Japanese games is Pachinko, which is currently played all over the country. Pachinko is legal in Japan, despite resembling both slots and bingo games in its structure.

You can find Pachinko houses all over the country, where you play the physical game, but Pachinko is also available at many gambling sites in a virtual version. Interestingly, its popularity has transferred seamlessly and online Pachinko is now one of the top casino games in Japan and surrounding areas in Asia.

However, it is not the only game loved by players in Japan, and Japanese gamblers also have their preferences when it comes to slots, table games, live casino and sports betting. We are going to have a closer look at what other games are popular in the country.

Top Slot Games in Japan

Top Slot Games in Japan

The games that are the most similar to Pachinko—Japan’s most popular game—are slots, so it isn’t exactly surprising that slot machines are very loved among the Japanese online gambling community. Slots are simple to play, require very little knowledge and no experience, and they come in all different types of themes.

The types of slots preferred in Japan differ, and some are more drawn to the classic kind with three reels and only one row, where the goal is to get three identical symbols on a horizontal row. Others, however, prefer slots with multiple reels and rows, and where you can bet on several payment lines at a time.

 

Below are a few of the top games played by Japanese gamblers at casinos from around the world. Simple and straight-forward games like Starburst appear to be particularly popular, as well as progressive jackpot games like Mega Moolah.

  • Starburst (NetEnt)
  • Mega Moolah (Microgaming)
  • Sunrise Reels (Realistic Games)
  • Private Eye (Microgaming)
  • Gonzo’s Quest (NetEnt)
  • Book of Ra (Novomatic)
  • Goblin’s Cave (Playtech)
  • Immortal Romance (Microgaming)
  • 9 Pots Of Gold (Microgaming)
  • Thunderstruck 2 (Microgaming)

That said, there are hundreds of different casino games at casinos available to Japanese players, so if you don’t feel drawn to any of these—don’t worry, there are plenty of other options out there.

Japan slots

Live Casino for Japanese Online Gamblers

Live Casino for Japanese Online Gamblers

While slots are the most popular online casino games after Pachinko, there are also many who prefer live casino games like Baccarat, Blackjack, Roulette and even Poker. The online casinos that are available to Japanese players are usually packed with live games, which gives you a great opportunity to try an even more authentic casino experience.

Some games seem more popular than others, such as those that combine slot machine features with a live dealer, and a good example is Gonzo’s Treasure Hunt. It is common for there to be some confusion as to whether it is legal to play live at an online casino when you live in Japan, but the same rules apply here, and it is perfectly fine as long as the gambling site or casino is located outside Japan.

Japan live casino

Some of the live casino games you can find in Japan are these:

  • Face Up 21
  • Gonzo’s Treasure Hunt
  • Lightning Roulette
  • Texas Hold’em
  • Monopoly Live
  • Punto Blanco
  • Dream Catcher

While you see the game played live, the studio that transmits is actually located somewhere completely different, such as in Malta or somewhere else in Europe. This makes it possible for Japanese players to gamble at online live casinos legally.

Sports Betting in Japan

Sports Betting in Japan

As you know by now, the gambling rules in Japan are very strict, but betting is actually legal also when the site or physical location is in or from Japan! However, it only applies to a few sports, and while you can bet on anything you want as long as the online casino is located abroad, it is still good to be aware.

The sports that are legal to bet on in Japan are the following:

  • Football
  • Horse Racing
  • Motorbike Racing
  • Motorboat Racing
  • Bike Racing
  • Keirin

Betting works a little differently and does, in many ways, resemble a lottery, but it is always good to know that there are ways to gamble legally also in Japan. If you gamble at an online casino which is operated from another country, then you can legally participate in any sports betting activity the casino has to offer.

Japan sports gambling

Bonuses at Japanese Online Casinos

Bonuses Found at Japanese Online Casinos

Players in Japan love a good casino bonus, and who doesn’t? It gives you that perfect opportunity to gamble a little longer without spending more, and hopefully get a few extra chances to win. Are you curious about the types of bonuses you might come across as a Japanese player or a player based in Japan? Let’s find out.

Japan casino bonus

Welcome Package Bonuses

By offering a welcome bonus, casinos make themselves noticed in an attempt to convince players to sign up for an account. It is a clever marketing idea that works just like any company offering a freebie to new customers, and these types of bonuses are usually plastered all over the website landing page.

Common welcome bonus packages consist of a cash matching bonus, where the casino multiplies your first deposit with a certain percentage. Sometimes you might get a 100% cash matching bonus, and some generous sites could even offer you 100% extra on your first deposit, followed by an additional 50% on your second and third deposit.

Free spins are also very commonly found as part of a welcome bonus, and these types of bonuses are very popular in Japan. With free spins, you get to spin the reels of a slot a few extra times without paying anything.

Bonuses when Reloading Your Account

Casinos in Japan also offer bonuses to their loyal players who choose to come back and gamble over and over again, and these tend to look very similar to a welcome bonus, only that they are also available to those who have already received a welcome bonus before. With reload bonuses, the casino is trying to convince its Japanese players to stay and continue playing, rather than seeking out a competitor.

No Deposit Casino Bonuses

As you can see, these bonuses sound almost a little too good to be true, as you can claim them without having to make a deposit. The casino is basically handing out “free” money. It is far from the most common bonus type out there, but they do exist and are available to players in Japan at select casinos.

Keep in mind that these types of bonuses often have very high wagering requirements, and they might not be as beneficial as they seem at first glance. That said, a no deposit bonus is a great way to get a feel for a new casino without having to place bets with your own money.

Cashback Casino Bonuses

Cashback programs are designed for loyal members, and generally offer more value than a reload bonus or a welcome package. With these types of bonuses, you get a percentage of your money back when you play and lose, and while the percentage is generally small, it can be enough to keep you playing.

The best thing about cashback bonuses is that they don’t come with any wagering requirements, and many Japanese players see these as the most desirable bonuses for this simple reason. Some online casinos in Japan may have their cashback programs available to all players, and others only offer them to select members that have reached a certain level.

Bonus Wagering Requirements

Bonus Wagering Requirements in the Japanese Casino Industry

Unfortunately, there is virtually no way to escape wagering requirements when you gamble at an online casino, and this applies also to players in Japan. Wagering requirements work as a type of insurance for the casino, designed to make sure you don’t just claim your generous bonus offer and leave. They don’t want you to use your bonus money at one of their competitors’ websites.

Wagering requirements prevent you from withdrawing your bonus funds until you have wagered the amount a certain number of times, and they can be set to anything from x2-x50. It is always smart to compare wagering requirements when choosing a casino and when deciding whether to accept a bonus, as some can be tricky to meet.

If you fail to meet the wagering requirements within a set time frame, you could end up losing your bonus money and any winnings generated by your free cash.

Popular Payment Methods

Payment Methods Popular in Japan

Since there aren’t really any Japanese gambling sites where you can gamble online, as it is only legal to gamble at foreign casinos, what about payment methods? Are there casino payment methods that suit Japanese gamblers? The answer is luckily yes, as most bigger casinos have adapted to the presence of Japanese players by providing adequate payment options.

  • Skrill
  • Neteller
  • PayPal
  • VISA
  • Mastercard
  • EcoPayz
  • MuchBetter
  • Venus Point
  • Paysafecard
  • Interac
  • iWallet
  • InstaDebit

These are only some of your options. There are still many gamblers in Japan who prefer debit or credit cards like Mastercard, but just keep in mind that casinos licensed by the UKGC no longer allow credit card payments. Debit cards are still allowed, however.

E-wallets like Skrill, Neteller, PayPal and EcoPayz are great for players in Japan who prefer to keep their payment information somewhat more private, and if you don’t have a bank account, then Venus Point with its option to pay in cash might be just what you need.

Responsible Gambling

Responsible Gambling in Japan

Responsible gambling entails responsible bankroll management and maintaining a healthy relationship to gambling, and most (if not all) bigger online casinos available in Japan offer helpful resources to keep it safe and fun. There are usually spending limits you can set for yourself, that stop you from spending more than a certain amount per day, week or month.

Unfortunately, the Japanese government is unlikely to be very helpful in this aspect, considering the legal status of in-country gambling, and it is recommended that you turn directly to a casino if you feel you need help. The casino can help you set up appropriate limits or point you in the right direction for additional help.

Casinos licensed by the authorities or agencies mentioned in this article are obligated to provide responsible gambling resources to their players, and this includes players from Japan and is not restricted to players in the country in which the casino operates.

Set a budget for yourself and make a conscious effort to stick to it, even when you feel tempted to play a little bit more. Don’t try to win back money you have lost, and don’t be afraid to ask for help if you feel you need it. Gambling should never have a negative impact on your life or on the lives of those around you.

What to Look for in a Japanese Casino Site

What to Look for in a Japanese Casino Site

If you are curious about how we have chosen the casinos featured in our toplists, and why we recommend certain sites over others, then you are about to find out. We look at a list of perimeters to determine what casino sites are the most suited for players in Japan, and this could help you learn what to look for yourself too. A reliable casino is essential, but there are other things to consider as well.

The Game Library

Whether you are planning to head straight for a specific game or if you hope to try a few different options, one of the first things to check is a casino’s game library. It is worth noting that Pachinko games aren’t available everywhere, so this is something you need to pay special attention to if you, like so many other players in Japan, love a good game of this player favourite.

Available Bonuses

Why settle for a casino without good bonus offers, when there are so many gambling sites that continuously reward their players? Unless a casino has a game you can’t seem to find anywhere else, it is never a bad idea to compare casino bonuses to make sure you get the best deal possible when you sign up.

Customer Support for Japanese Players

It is important for online casinos used by Japanese players to have quality customer support, as there is little to no support in-country if something would go wrong. We look for 24-hour customer service with multiple contact options, such as a live chat for urgent issues, email, phone and a FAQ section. A few select casinos may even offer customer service in Japanese, but these can have very limited office hours.

Mobile Adapted Casino

In Japan, most people tend to live hectic lifestyles with very little time to sit down in front of a computer, and then it is crucial to find a casino with a good mobile site. Their mobile casino should adapt nicely to smaller screens and be easy and practical to navigate, as well as offer a decent game selection. You can also look for a casino with a mobile app to download from the Apple Store or Google Play Store.

Casino Licensing

We only recommend casinos that are licensed by respected third-party licensing authorities, as this helps protect players from dishonest gambling sites. You can look for this yourself on the site of the casino you are interested in. The information should be readily available, and difficulty to locate licensing details on a casino site should be considered a red flag.

Responsible Gambling Resources

No responsible casino wants you to lose all your money, as they gain the most when you continue to come back to play. As a result, there should always be resources for those who need help with their gambling, as well as information about how to gamble responsibly at online casino sites.

Appropriate Payment Methods

There are many great payment methods out there, but what is popular in Japan might not be what is used somewhere else in the world. We make sure that the top payment options in Japan are available at the sites we recommend, and it is something to look for when you browse casino sites yourself as well.

what to look for in a Japanese casino

Final Say

Final Say on Online Gambling in Japan

It is unfortunate that Japan still restricts gambling the way that it looks today, and that gambling is still considered illegal. Fortunately, these laws don’t apply to online gambling, as long as the casino is located and managed somewhere else, outside the Japanese borders. If this is the case, then you can gamble legally also when in Japan.

Online gambling is fun and full of adrenaline, and you are probably ready to hop in and get started! We would like to suggest that you take some time to compare the different casino sites available to you, to make sure you get the gambling experience you deserve. Enjoy your casino play, gamble responsible and stay safe!

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