The Japanese government seems to be opening up to the option of legalising sports betting in the country for the first time. According to the Financial Times, the emerging change of mind is the ongoing Corona crisis, which has brought heavy losses to the country’s economy. Check out the best bitcoin casino Japan!
The newspaper received the information from two insiders who said they had “direct knowledge of the situation”. Whether and when sports betting will be legalised is an open question. However, the number 2024 had been given as a rough guide.
However, the internal parliamentary discussion on sports betting is already breaking a taboo. For decades, the government has resisted opening up the market.
Sports betting is not entirely banned in Japan. The gambling law allows an exception for horse racing and bicycle, motorboat and motorbike races. However, these may only be offered by the state or the lottery. The annual profit from betting on these sports is reported to have been the equivalent of 45.5 billion euros in 2019. Revenues from Japan’s traditional gambling game, pachinko, are significantly higher. Operators would have generated 165 billion euros in revenue in 2019.
Opening up the sports betting market could generate 53.8 billion euros per year. Therefore, there is likely to be significant interest, especially in betting on the Nippon Professional League Baseball and the first division J-League football .
The Japanese are already placing countless bets on unlicensed sports betting portals whose operators are based abroad. The black market is estimated at around 33.1 billion euros.
Another opportunity for companies from Europe and the USA?
The opening of the sports betting market would be the second huge change in Japanese gambling . For years, the government has been working towards opening the first casino resorts of the year. A total of three locations are to be chosen for this, among them Osaka and Nagasaki in all probability.
In March, industry media reported that Casinos Austria AG was among the top three groups running for the Nagasaki licence. However, US gaming groups have also repeatedly expressed interest in one of the licences.
As the British investment portal Proactive Investors reports, Japan could become even more attractive for some of the gambling giants if sports betting were legalised at the same time. Therefore, investment broker Peel Hunt sees a promising future for MGM Resorts and its British partner Entain.
If MGM wins the race for the casino licence and sports betting is legalised, we think Entain could work with MGM to develop the market.
Entain had recently announced its intention to expand its business in the US and Central and South America. With Japan, there could now be another opportunity on the other side of the world.