Could Japan Use Sports Betting to Cover Pandemic Losses?

Could Japan be the next in the legal competition for sports betting in global games?

Much of the world coexisted with sports betting before the US did Supreme Court dejected Occupational and Popular Sports Protection Act last month three years ago.

A number of countries including Canada are rethinking their situation, and Japan has now wondered whether it should regulate sports betting. Canada has come forward with lengthy plans to allow single game betting.

Japan’s government has started to look into legalizing betting on Soccer and baseball to generate income for the land that derives from the Coronavirus Pandemic.

Current Sports Betting Market in Japan

The current sports betting market in Japan is similar to what is currently in Canada. This means there are bets, but they are limited and do not exist in the form that bettors most want.

Currently, bets are limited to racing events. Horse racing is the most popular event to bet on, but the country also allows betting on bike races, motorcycle races, and powerboat races. However, there is also a pool betting option for betting on the J-League, as well as several other professional football leagues around the world.

The markets are controlled and operated by the government.

Why are sports betting so restricted?

Japanese law has long banned gambling. Only recently have laws been liberalized to allow limited forms of gambling. Most of the legalization of gambling in Japan took place over the past decade.

Casinos were legalized in 2018but the expansion of other types of gambling has been slow. Like the ban in the United States, this did not stop gambling but instead drove betting on unregulated markets.

No Plans to Legalize Gambling – What?

First March 2021, it was reported that the chairman of the National Public Safety Commission denied that there are plans to legalize online betting.

Interest seemed to have spiked with the pandemic when a tracking company found that the gambling site most visited by users in Japan saw a jump of about 650,000 Visits in December 2018 at 77.5 million visits at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in January 2020.

Are sports betting a different beast?

It seems like a month could have changed things. The Japanese government has started talks to legalize betting on some of the country’s most popular sports, according to a report in the Financial Times in April 2021.

The article notes that a legalized sports betting market in Japan could be worthwhile $ 65 billion yearly.

Hard times

The pandemic has hit Japanese sport particularly hard. One estimate gave a loss of up to. at $ 2.5 billion for the sports industry for the first half of 2020.

Sports betting in Japan is seen as a way to cushion some of these losses.

Despite relatively limited offerings, the regulated gaming industry in Japan generated a reported one $ 55 billion in “Revenue” in 2019 for the four sports on which betting is allowed. An expansion of these offers should more than double this number.

Different country, similar challenges

Much like the United States, where regulated operators continue to face challenges in competing with unregulated offshore locations, Japan is likely to face the same problem.

Many bettors in Japan are already betting online on offshore sites that are more than willing to take their bets while a ban is in place.

The drive for change has been fueled by some of the country’s largest industrial groups, including a lobby group supported by founder founder, according to the Financial Times Rakuten.

Efforts to legalize betting on the country’s two most popular sports, however, are said to be at least three years away, with a possible start date in 2024.

Details on sports betting in Japan will follow

The details of what sports betting might look like in Japan remain unclear. The start is still years away, but sports betting fans have reason to look forward to it.

While Canada might make a more accurate comparison of events in Japan than the United States, the possibility of single game betting will undoubtedly be of interest to some American gambling players given the limited regulated offerings the two countries currently have.

What could that mean?

It remains premature to speculate too much about what a legal sports betting market in Japan might look like. However, given the tight government controls of the larger gaming industry, it seems unlikely that a market economy model like that of New Jersey would be the most likely model to be expected.

Despite the uncertainty in the months to come (and likely years), it can reasonably be expected that there will be stronger momentum for the legalization of sports betting in Japan in the coming months, especially now that the rumored discussions are public.

One area to watch out for is what Americans great and what European Sports betting companies decide what to do and whether to try to frame the scope of the conversation or sit on the sidelines and see what goes on.

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