Popularity of Sports Betting in Japan

Japan is a country that has a complex set of laws when it comes to gambling. There are no legal casinos that exist in the country, but other forms of gambling, such as pachinko, lotteries, and sports betting, are legal. More than a few types of sports betting are officially legal in Japan. In fact, we can say that it is popular because many Japanese spend and win millions of dollars in sports betting each year. When sports betting in Japan, people can also pay via JCB. If you want to try, here are JCB オンラインカジノの一覧 (list of JCB online casinos) that you can check out.

Even though most types of gambling are not allowed in Japan, people can still enjoy different types of betting due to their cultural and historical significance. For example, people in Japan can make bets on Koei Kyogi or public sports. On May 10, 1998, the Sports Promotion Voting or SPV Act was passed to legalize toto or football pools gambling on the local Japanese J-League. On this type of gambling, the Ministry of Education, Sports, Science, and Technology or MEXT serves as the regulator. Read on to know more about the popularity of sports betting in Japan.

Legal Sports Betting in Japan

If you want to try sports betting in Japan, here are the legal ones that you can opt for:

Toto or J-League Soccer Pools

One of the legal sports betting in Japan is Japanese professional soccer or also known as J-League or Toto. To try this, all you need to do is to purchase tickets at any authorized Toto booths. You don’t need to be an expert about the mechanics of the game to be able to bet. You can check out sports dailies to see their picks, which are commonly done randomly.

Keiba or Horse Racing

There are three kinds of horse racing in Japan, including jump racing, flat racing, and Ban’ei racing or draft racing. This sport has more than 21,000 races each year. All of these major horse racing is under the supervision of the JRA or the Japan Racing Association of the federal government to make sure that all races are of high quality and efficiency. On the other hand, tracks that are not under JRA are under the National Association of Racing or NAR.

The JRA organization has two tracks in the Kansei area, three in Tokyo, two in Northern Honshu, one in Kyushu, and two in Hokkaido. These races are called the Chuo Keiba or the central horse racing. If you want to bet, but you’re far from any of these tracks, then you can head to an off-track betting facility. Another option is to get a JRA online account, watch the race on TC, and bet using their mobile phones. On the other hand, local horse racing or Chibou Keiba is under the control of NAR. It has 15 municipal tracks that hold smaller races compared to JRA.

Keirin or Bicycle Racing

Before the popularity of horse racing in Japan, a lot of Japanese are already fans of the bicycle racing gambling system. This sport started after World War II and involved several cyclists competing for several laps as they are paced by a motorcycle. Keirin was mainly a gambling event, but when it became one of the events in the 2000 Olympics held in Australia, it has evolved to become a sport.

Keirin races are often 1.5 km long. Riders draw lots to determine their starting position. Since it is motor-paced, riders need to stay behind the pacer for three laps on a 250-meter track. Eventually, the pace will leave the track before the end of the race to enable the riders to sprint to the finish line.

When betting in Keirin, it includes different terms, such as Exacta, Quinella, Trifecta, Trio, and Quinella Place or Wide. In Exacta, bettors choose the exact order of the first two finishers. In Quinella, they choose the first two finishers in no particular order. In Trifecta, the exact order of the first three finishers is chosen. In Trio, they choose the first three finishers in no particular order. And in Quinella, bettors choose two of the top three finishers in no particular order.

Major events also allow jackpot wagers like Dokanto! 4 Two. It allows bettors to choose the first and second-place finisher in the last four races of the day, and as well as the Dokanto! 7, which allows bettors to select the winner in each of the last seven races of the day.

Otu Resu or Motorcycle Racing

This sport is considered the Japanese version of the motorcycle speedway. It is a sport that started in Japan, mainly for gambling. It began in the 1950s, but it was only in 1967 when the government established a regulatory body that changed the rules of the sport greatly. To be able to bet well, you need to research the sport, know the odds, find an online sportsbook, and of course, gamble wisely.

Kyotei or Boat Racing

Kyotei has been a prominent gambling activity in Japan since 1952. It is a government-sponsored race that is held in more than 20 venues where the races are held regularly. Six speed boats will race three laps around a 600-meter course. Bettors need to predict the winner correctly, two of the top three, or the exact order of the top three finishers to win.


With all of the sports we mentioned above, we can say that sports betting is indeed popular in Japan. These are the types of sports that you can bet on whether on-site or via online betting services across the country. The Japanese government has still been making efforts towards legalizing other types of gambling. But keep in mind that it is still illegal to run online gambling websites in Japan. Sports betting, however, is totally legal. But not sports are popular in Japan. You can also bet on professional soccer, but it is not as popular as horse racing.