Online Casino Illegality in Japan

Online Casino Illegality in Japan Japan

What is an online casino?

There are websites where you can spend real money to play casino games.

They are called online casinos.

Casinos are places where people play card games such as poker and slots, and bet on how much money they will make if they win, and how much money they will lose if they lose.

Since casinos are gambling activities (*) and gambling is prohibited in Japan, the question arises whether you can be charged with a crime if you use an online casino.

Gambling is the act of putting money or other property on the table to win or lose.

Illegality of online casinos in Japan

Gambling is prohibited in Japan, and online casinos cannot be operated legally.

It is illegal to participate in online casinos as a customer (player). Customers are guilty of simple gambling (Article 185 of the Penal Code, a fine of 500,000 yen or less or a fine of up to 500,000 yen). If the customer habitually gambles, the customer is guilty of habitual gambling (Article 186, Paragraph 1 of the Penal Code, imprisonment for not more than 3 years).

The organizer of an online casino is guilty of the crime of gambling (Article 186, Paragraph 2 of the Penal Code, imprisonment from 3 months to 5 years).

What happens if a Japanese Citizen participates in an online casino? 

It seems that there are online casinos for Japanese players on foreign websites.
The Penal Code defines the crime of gambling and bookmaking graft as a crime punishable only when committed in Japan. Therefore, if these online websites are operated overseas, the website operator is not guilty of the crime.

However, this does not immediately mean that the customers (players) are not guilty of simple or habitual gambling.

The simple gambling and habitual gambling offenses are only defined to punish “the person who gambles”.
Using an overseas online casino as a customer (player) constitutes “gambling,” and therefore, simple gambling and habitual gambling can be established.

Explanation of past cases

Past cases show that some customers (players) who used online casinos overseas were caught, and some were summarily fined and some were not prosecuted.

It is important to note that it is wrong to assume that because there have been cases of non-prosecution, it is not a crime to use foreign online casinos.

A summary fine is just a simplified procedure, but it is a judgment of guilt made by a judge.
Even if the prosecutor asks for a summary fine, the judge will not issue a summary fine if there is any doubt about the guilt of the crime.
A summary order is a conviction, and in this sense it is no different from a formal trial.

The fact that a summary fine has been granted means that the judge has found that the conduct of the customer (player) using an overseas Internet casino (online casino) constitutes a simple gambling offense or an habitual gambling offense.