Japan has a long-standing tradition of betting even though it had been outlawed. The first instance of betting started in the 6th century. It was a popular leisure activity among the rulers of ancient Japan. Emperor Nihon Shoki gambled regularly in his royal residence. The earliest betting regulation ruled out different types of betting.
Those who disregarded the rule were whipped and punished. In the 8th century, a dice game (ban-sugoroku) that mimics backgammon was popularized by Emperor Tenmu. Literally translated, the game means double-six. But the game was officially boycotted when Empress Jito took over the throne. Then Bakuto emerged during her rule and is today known as Kyoto.
As more gamblers joined the bandwagon, violence and other antisocial activities prevailed in the country. The rulers had to intervene by establishing nine statutes to prohibit betting in the 13th century. Samurais were forbidden to indulge in games of chance in the Edo period. Only the elite samurais could gamble and drink socially.
Some forms of gambling were legalized in the early 1700s. But two centuries later, the Penal Code of 1907 prohibited all types of gambling. However, the government had to revive the lottery system after the Second World War to boost the economy which had been hit hard.
Betting nowadays in Japan
The federal government oversees all forms of horse racing through the Japan Racing Association (JRA). Betting on horse races is a bit complicated as only a few foreign horses are involved in the competitions. The restrictions are mainly due to the protectionist guidelines that prevent racing quality from rising above certain levels.
Gamblers who wish to play the ponies can only do so through JRA, which operates tracks in Tokyo, Kansai, Honshu, Kyushu, and Hokkaido. The JRA also runs numerous off-track betting establishments known as WINS. Punters can watch races on TV and bet via the internet or cell phones.
Betting on motorcycle racing, asphalt speedway, and powerboat racing is promoted throughout the country. Wagering tickets are sold in booths and circuits. In addition, online sports betting sites in Japan allow players to put their stakes on the web or mobile.
The sites are mobile-friendly, so they give the same experience as PC interfaces. This means one can make a wagering deposit straight from their comfort zone. Most punters use Safari and Chrome browsers. A few sportsbooks are downloadable on smartphones and tablets. Users access bets on popular world sports from these platforms.