Regulation in Japan May not be Waiting for Japan IR Projects

Lee R. - April 12, 2021

New mobile gaming apps in Japan suggest that full-scale iGaming regulation is imminent.


After long being considered an attractive region with a long-term iGaming development arc, Japan has suddenly emerged into an era of “explosive” iGaming and mobile gaming growth.

New iGaming Apps

The time for industry stakeholders to take notice of Japan was indicated by the recent Google Play app store announcement that as of March 1st began offering real money gambling apps downloadable in Japan.

Japan Takes the Lead

This puts Japan at a forefront, as the only Asian nation among the nineteen jurisdictions across the globe where such apps will be offered.

Types of Games

The four categories of games the Play store will offer are online casino games, lotteries, sports betting, and daily fantasy sports. In Japan additional real money iGaming apps will be offered for horse racing, motorboat racing, bicycle racing, and lotteries, spelling a proliferation of access in Japan.

Online Revenues Increasing

The sharp growth in legal forms of gaming was precipitated by several years of preparations, with market figures reflecting the shift in the form of increasing amounts of online revenues eclipsing totals of traditional gaming revenues in Japan such as weekend track betting and physical placement of bets--a phenomenon bolstered by pandemic league sport shutdowns.

Offshore Conditioning

Add to the acclimation to iGaming the many international casino sites now available in Japanese, which Japanese people cannot play but the ads remain visible to the Japanese people. There is an element of grey market access to these offshore sites which is acknowledged to be taking place in Japan, just as it does in other regions, which is also whetting the demand for iGaming and rendering regulation an imperative for the region.

Entering Social Discourse?

Japan is experiencing its own for of turbulence and unconventional political climate, as is the world, which does cause online regulation to be de-prioritized at times, with the current step being to have universities and more serious think-tanks in the media begin to weigh or recognize the social benefits of online gambling.


The new climate suggest that by the time IR projects in Japan are launched in several years, full-scale iGaming regulation will already be underway in one of the most appealing jurisdictions in the world.

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