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Top Japanese Sports Betting Sites

Sports betting in Japan is very limited compared to other parts of the world. Bettors are only able to bet on a handful of sports and only in selected formats. Also, online sports betting is restricted, further limiting available options for bettors.

However, despite the restrictive legal climate, many sportsbooks serve Japanese citizens. The reason is that the Japanese government does not actively pursue those that violate Japanese law.

Learn more about the legal climate of sports betting in Japan, the types of sports you can wager on online and how you can make a deposit at Japanese online sports betting sites.

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Japan Betting Sites

Online sports betting sites are popular in Japan because bettors can place bets not allowed in their own country. For example, fixed-odds betting is not permitted at Japanese betting sites. Bettors must place parlay-style wagers on games and face a very high rake from the operators.

When you play at online betting sites in Japan, you will be able to make bets using fixed odds. The better the odds, the higher the chance to hit a massive payday. You can bet on anything from individual games to how many touchdowns will be scored in the NFL’s Super Bowl in 2019.

Oh, did we mention that you can bet on most any sport? In Japan, you can only legally bet on a handful of sports. Online, you will be able to bet on games from all over the world ranging from football, basketball, horse racing, cricket, rugby, Aussie Rules football and even American sports such as the NFL, NBA and the NHL. Betting is also available on boxing, MMA and esports.

Is Sports Betting Legal in Japan?

Sports betting is only partially legal in Japan. Currently, just certain domestic sports can be wagered on and only in a live casino. Those sports are horse racing, powerboat racing, motorcycle racing, keirin and selected football leagues.

However, all betting is done parimutuel style, similar to a lottery. Standard sports betting, including online sports betting, is prohibited per chapter 23 of Japan’s penal code. Under the law, citizens are banned from playing on unauthorized sites.

That doesn’t mean that there aren’t sportsbooks that accept players from Japan. However, we recommend playing from your home and avoid public internet to make wagers.

What are Popular Sports to Bet on In Japan?

Unlike many other countries in the world, Japan’s passion is baseball. Whether they are betting on Puro Yakyu or Major League Baseball in the United States, Japanese citizens love betting on baseball games and their favorite teams.

Football is also very popular in Japan. There are 18 professional soccer clubs in Japan and citizens also follow many of the international pro leagues, including the English Premier League. Major events such as the FIFA World Cup also attract a lot of betting action.

Other sports with a significant following include auto racing, golf, horse racing, boxing and sumo.

Do Bettors Have to Pay Taxes on their Winnings?

Tax laws regarding gambling are a bit complex. Winnings on horse racing are taxable; however, this only applies if you win over ¥500,000 per year. Also, you may not deduct the cost of losing wagers against wins. Even if you lost ¥600,000 in bets in a year, you must pay tax on your winnings.

Note that since only limited sports betting is allowed in Japan, laws about wagers from other sports are not addressed in the tax code. Considering that the Japanese government does not license sportsbooks serving Japan, it is unlikely that they will withhold taxes in any form. It is best to discuss your tax situation with an accountant.

How to Make a Deposit At a Sportsbook in Japan

The truth is that you’re going to have limited options for depositing at a sportsbook in Japan. Part of the reason is that most Japanese banks actively block all payments related to gambling. The odds are that if you attempt to deposit using your credit card or bank account, it will fail.

Luckily, you do have the option of depositing via both Neteller and Skrill. Both are online e-wallets that you can use to make online purchases. You can send funds to your Skrill or Neteller account from your bank account and then use those funds to make your deposit.

Another potential option for some sportsbooks is bitcoin or other forms of cryptocurrencies. If your sportsbook accepts bitcoin, you can transfer funds directly from your bitcoin wallet. You will be subject to miner fees from bitcoin, but it is one of the most secure options outside of e-wallets.

Deposits using e-wallets and bitcoin post instantly, and you can start wagering immediately. Note that when it is time to cash out, you will have to use the same account to make a withdrawal.

Mobile Betting Options

All sportsbooks in Japan offer some form of a mobile betting option. Many will allow you to place bets directly on your smartphone or tablet using your mobile web browser. Sites that are mobile-optimized in this fashion feature the same functionality as their PC counterparts.

What does this mean? You will be able to make deposits and place all of the same bets as if you were accessing the site from your home computer. Note that if you plan to use a browser-based sportsbook, you should use Chrome or Safari as they are the most up-to-date browsers.

A few sites still require that you download a mobile app to your tablet or smartphone. While convenient, the main drawback to mobile apps is functionality. Many will offer a limited version of the sportsbook. You will probably be able to place bets on the most popular sports, but less popular games and exotic bets may not be available.

If you plan to place bets using your mobile, check out the site’s promotion section for any offers explicitly targeted for mobile bettors. You may need to access the site via your mobile to find these offers.