Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the Japanese government has started to discuss the possibility of legalising baseball and football sports betting.
Japan.- The arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic and changes in behaviour as players turn to online gambling has led the Japanese government to seriously think about the possibility of legalising sports betting.
There are currently only four types of sports betting permitted in Japan: horseracing, bicycle racing, and motorboat and motorcycle racing.
However according to the Financial Times, internal discussions have already begun and experts believe the legalisation of baseball and football sports betting could create a market of nearly US$65bn.
The Japanese government has noted that horseracing bets increased 30.1 per cent in the fiscal year 2020 to their highest in nearly 30 years fueled by online betting.
The sports betting industry, meanwhile, lost over US$2.5bn in 2020 due to the cancellation of games
According to various reports, Japanese players are increasingly betting illegally via offshore websites, and the government believes it could be time to bring those players back through the legalisation of sports betting.
While there is no date for when sports betting could be legalised, according to the FT newspaper, the legalisation of betting on Nippon Professional League baseball could arrive by 2024.
Meanwhile, new legislation has been drawn up for Japan’s future casino industry, including regulations designed to tackle organised crime. Japan’s Casino Regulatory Commission plans to grant licences for up to three casino resorts in the country.