Anyone else around noticed how seemingly big the casino industry has become in recent years, only growing in popularity with thousands of casinos now around the world?

In the USA alone there are over 500 casinos – and that’s just one country out of 195!

However, speaking globally, in comparison to some parts of the world, there’s a massive gap in the casino market in Asia. Jumping on the bandwagon, some places such as Macau have taken early advantage, trying to bridge the gap, but there’s no denying there’s still a huge demand for casinos around the continent.

As a result, Japan recently legalized the operation of casinos in the form of Integrated Resorts, but plans have taken a slight halt (with no) thanks to the worldwide pandemic.

We know Japan is famous for its Pachinko parlors, as well as traditional Keiba (Horse Racing) and Kyotei (Motorboat-racing) betting, but is gambling itself a popular sport in Japan currently? With online casinos increasingly on the rise as well as Poker, another super popular sport among Japanese players, could this be indicative that these IR Resorts will succeed?

Legal forms of gambling

Did you know that gambling has been illegal in Japan since the Meiji era in 1907 – which is only just over a hundred years?

Up till now, any form of gambling in a physical land casino form has been deemed illegal, until the recent introduction of IR Resorts. Online casinos are still illegal within Japan (unless the website is an offshore online registered casino).

But that doesn’t mean there aren’t still forms of gambling. From horse-racing to bicycle racing, motorboat, and motorsport racing, you can still get your betting fix within the country.

With over 9400 Pachinko Parlours in Japan alone, the ever-popular slot machines (originating here) are still as big as ever. In 2019 the Pachinko alone was worth 20 trillion Japanese Yen and today the county sees over 8.9 million players!

Online gambling

Albeit the fact that online gambling in Japan is illegal, it’s in fact still very popular and if you take a look around you’ll actually notice how many Japanese casinos have been launched that cater specifically to Japanese players, like Casino X which ranks highly in Japan 101’s ratings receiving 5 stars along with 2 other casinos targeting the Japanese markets, Vera & John and Casino Secret.

Apart from being favored on the streets, Poker has gained tons of online popularity amongst the Japanese communities and the Japan Poker Association organizes poker tournaments both online and on land.

Slots are another favored gambling bout that often sport-themed video slots of beloved celebs in Japan.

It also seems that there are many (welcomed) added bonuses that favor Japanese players’ likings such as free spin bonuses when playing online slot games. It seems that in comparison to your usual walk-in casinos, the online ones offer a lot more added bonuses and extras when playing…

Considering the newly adapted laws in Japan that now allow for the implementation of casinos to be built as part of the new Integrated Resort models, this could see a change in the online gambling laws once the IR Resorts have been built?

The integrated resorts

These integrated resorts are based on a hotel-casino type model around places such as Macau, Singapore, and Las Vegas where it’s been done successfully.

Not just a hotel and casino, the LR Resort wants to aim to incorporate a full experience including its casino, large-scale convention center, theme park and attractions, luxury retail, fine dining, sporting complexes, and concert venues.

Due to the current worldwide pandemic, schedules have unfortunately slowed down but things seem to be back on track with applications due to be accepted anytime between January and July 2021.

Taking all of the above information into consideration, it could all quite possibly be indicative of the success that these LR Resorts will have. Plus, it could also have a major positive effect on Japan’s economy and as well potentially boost tourism.

And what about the people, are they happy about these new-style resorts that will soon be popping up around the country? As gambling itself is super popular in Japan, and these new resorts also boast a whole other world of entertainment, the general sentiment is that of a positive one.

With casinos continually on the rise, whether it be on land or online, this is one sport that won’t be going away anytime soon. Does it make sense economically for Japan to follow through with its plans, and will they succeed?

Lest we forget the possible changes it could have for the world of online gambling especially regarding the legalities within Japan – here’s hoping.