Inside Japan’s $6.19B Gambling Landscape – Pachinko, Stats & Gambling Problems

Japan Gambling Landscape
Japan Gambling Landscape

The gambling market has been on the rise all over the world, especially in some of the big Asian countries. Unlike in Europe, where this business has been around for centuries, some of the Asian markets have opened their doors just recently. Japan is not among them yet, but it’s quickly becoming one of the most intriguing states for online gambling.

According to, Japan’s online gambling market was worth around $6.19B in 2023. What’s even more impressive is that many experts predict a 4.92% annual growth, making Japan one of the hottest countries for iGaming. “Some of you may be surprised by the data, but we have to remember that Japan has one of the world’s largest economies. Furthermore, the country has a rich history with some games, such as Pachinko. This means the population has been “exposed” to gambling for years now”, said Kristiyan from NB.

Japan is among the most interesting countries for a variety of reasons. The situation with the iGaming services is strange, and some of you may get confused, so let’s learn some of its most important aspects.

Japan Gambling Stats

The Legal Gambling Landscape in Japan

Gambling is one of the businesses that’s “barely legal” in many countries, and Japan is one of them. If we analyze the active rules, we can see that poker, bingo, and casino gaming are prohibited. The land-based form of these activities is supervised by the Japan Casino Regulatory Commission.

The situation with betting is different. Generally speaking, Japanese people are only allowed to wager on horse races, bicycle races, motorboat races, and motorcycle races. These things should be operated and monitored by the government in Japan or specific municipal bodies.

Classic sports betting is in a similar situation, but there are ongoing discussions in the country about legalizing it. Fantasy betting is also in a similar state, but Japan does allow it, granted that a third-party sponsor provides the reward.

Despite these rules, the reality is that locals can access different kinds of online bookmakers and casinos with an offshore license. A lot of the big gambling companies offer their services to Japanese users. Some even have a special version of their website.

Besides the potential changes in the gambling laws regarding sports betting, technological advancement also has a role to play in Japan’s gambling market growth. The Asian state has always been tech-say, so it’s no surprise that most people there have smartphones. The latter allows them to download different betting and gambling apps and use the brand they like on the go.

Interesting stats related to gambling in Japan

Now that you are familiar with the legal landscape regarding gambling in Japan, it’s time to take a look at a few interesting stats. Remember when we talked about Pachinko? Well, the latter is extremely popular in Asian countries, and the statistics provided by some sources show that this game alone brings in around $200B in revenue per year. For comparison, the gambling revenue in places such as Las Vegas is usually much smaller.

Another stat related to Japan is the user penetration rating in online gambling. According to some sources, around 7.9% of the population will be involved in gambling in 2024. This may seem a lot, but if you compare it to the UK’s 27.9%, you can see that the Japanese market isn’t that big yet.

The next interesting statistic about gambling in Japan is related to the amount of money people spend. By the looks of it, the average Japanese gambler will spend around $630 on online gambling in 2024. This amount is pretty high, but the reality is that it is lower than what people spend in brock-and-mortar gambling.

What’s interesting about the amount of money people spend on online gambling is that it is lower than the stats for Pachinko. The most recent survey was done in 2021, and according to it, Japanese players can often spend up to $219 per day while playing. This is a lot of money, and it explains why Pachinko’s revenue in the country is as high as it is.

Another big thing in Japan is the lotteries. You will find many different lotteries, including Japan Loto 6, Mini Loto, and more. Some stats show that around 22M people took part in lottery games. Even foreigners are allowed to participate in some lottos.

Pachinko in Japan

Pachinko machines

We have mentioned Pachinko several times throughout, so it’s time to learn a little more about it. Without going into much detail, this is a mechanical game that comes from Japan and is similar to an arcade. Due to how it works, a lot of people compare it to a slot machine.

Pachinko is extremely popular due to the lack of any real brick-and-mortar casino in the country. However, things will most likely change in 2029 because there are plans for opening the first real casino in Japan. It should be in Osaka.

As of 2022, more than 7670 pachinko parlors are operating in the country, meaning you can find them almost anywhere. However, this number has been decreasing in the last couple of years due to the rapid growth of online gambling. It is illegal, but people find ways to access different operators, and it seems like they find it more interesting.

Besides the popularity of other gambling alternatives, surveys reveal other reasons why the interest in Pachinko is going down. For example, around 44% say that it’s due to the lack of time and money. Therefore, it shouldn’t be surprising that there are 12% fewer Pachinko fans in 2022 than there were in 2020. The trends continued in the future, so the number of Pachinko fans in Japan is even lower now.

How will the rise in gambling popularity affect the population?

If we analyze some of the biggest gambling markets in the world, we can see that the number of people who have problems with gambling increases. This isn’t surprising because players have access to more options, and not all know how to be responsible.

The most recent data we have regarding problem gambling in Japan is from 2022. According to it, around 2.2% of adults have gambling disorders. This number is really low when compared to other places, especially when you consider that there weren’t any policies related to issues caused by gambling. The first ones came into power in 2018.

Due to the specifics regarding Japan’s society and the way it works, gambling problems can lead to a lot more issues than in the West. Aside from the financial side of things, there is also the risk of social isolation. There is also this concept of self-blame and the sense of failure as parents, which can be really strong.

Considering these specifics and the fact that gambling is growing in popularity, we expect to see a lot of improvements in the responsible gambling department. Japan’s government needs to acknowledge that many people are using offshore gambling sites, and some of them may experience problems. It also must make efforts to promote the importance of getting help in case of a problem. It seems like locals feel ashamed for doing it.

Going back to the survey, 94.7% of people who had gambling problems said they never sought help. Only 4.6% asked their family and friends, and 0.1% were interested in using health centers, clinics, and hospitals.


All in all, Japan is a fascinating country when it comes down to gambling. Despite being illegal in most of its forms, locals find ways to access what they want. Furthermore, games like Pachinko are top-rated, resulting in more and more people playing.

Considering the advancements in the iGaming business and its potential legalization in Japan, it will be exciting to see the results a few years from now. The Japanese population’s experience with Pachinko means we may see millions of active bettors and gamblers once this happens.

Veselin Ignatov
Veselin IgnatovVeselin's primary job is to create unique content, such as reviews and analyses of different bookmakers and other topics from the iGaming industry.

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