People in Japan have always enjoyed a gamble, although sports betting is not (legally) included in the betting options available. Currently, even the best online betting sites in Japan 2021 offer legal betting on horse racing, cycling, speedboat racing and speedway. There are moves though in 2021 to expand this tight selection to include baseball, soccer and basketball.
For people in Japan who want to place their yen on sports bets beyond horse racing and co., offshore betting is currently their best option. To bet on the Nippon Baseball League, or soccer’s J-League, accessing an offshore betting site using a VPN is not at all difficult.
Here we take a look at some of the top betting sites available to people in Japan.
A lot of thought goes into our considerations of the best sports betting sites available to sports bettors in Japan. This is because we want our site users to have the best experience possible when it comes to their sports betting, and for our site to become the most valuable sports betting resource available on the world wide web. Here are just a few of the criteria we use when making our evaluations.
The best betting sites in Japan want to offer as many sports betting markets as possible, both upcoming and in-play. As a result, sports books can become a little bewildering, especially for newcomers. We champion brands that manage to balance functionality and useability, which we admit is a tricky thing to do.
Linked to ‘ease of use’ but not quite the same, we think it’s important that the best sports books are those with a high number of useful (and ‘useful’ is the important word here) features. Upcoming bets is the most important aspect of any sports betting site, but features such as in-play betting and cashing out are both now seen as essential, as are others.
Site should also offer mobile apps, or at least sites that are mobile-optimised so that they work immaculately on phone and tablets. Live streaming, virtual sports, bet builders … the possible options are somewhat endless. Check out both Betfair and Betway for a high number of useful features.
We should all now be aware of the potential hazards of internet usage, and we all probably know someone who has had their personal or financial information compromised in some way. It is the responsibility of bookies to make sure they keep your personal and financial details safe.
At SafeBettingSites we only recommend sports betting sites in Japan that are one hundred percent secure – ones that use state-of-the-art encryption tools and SSL security to keep your details as safe as possible. 1xBet and BetVictor are two sites that score highly in this regard.
Free yen is all well and good, and some sports books seem happy to splash their money around by offering money-laden promotions, but some promos are completely worthless. Once you’ve acquired your ‘free’ bonus you’ll find T&Cs that means excessive wagering – so much so that it’s unlikely you’ll have much bonus money left once you’ve done what’s expected of you.
The above is why we look for bonuses that give you a genuine chance of getting something out of then. True – the odds are always against you but that’s the whole point of sports betting, surely? At the least the best welcome bonuses (and ongoing bonuses) give you the chance to try out a site before parting with your own money! Check out BetWinner and Bet365 for some fair bonus deals.
One of the best ways we gauge the suitability of sites on our list of the best sportsbooks in Japan is via our own experience. All of the people behind SafeBettingSites have years of experience in the sports betting realm, which means we are really ‘in the know’ when it comes to sports betting in Japan or anywhere on the globe.
We use our site to share our experience with our site users. As we have been active in the sports betting sector for so long, our wisdom in this field is invaluable and can be trusted completely. There are no better people than us to tell to you which sites – for example 888sport and Betfair – you should be using for your sports betting, and which sites you need to ignore.
Different jurisdictions have different attitudies to what it is important at a sports betting site. For people in the US for example, the moneyline available for each event is perhaps the most important aspect. Sports bettors in Japan probably don’t even know what moneyline means (which is fine).
We think that Japanese sports bettors like in-play betting and the live streaming of events the most. Esports are huge in Japan too (with CS:GO betting sites especially important), so eSports betting is crucial too. Below you will find a useful table listing our top ten best-rated betting sites in Japan, and which of them get a ‘tick in the box when it comes to these three most-useful features.
|Sportsbook||In-Play Betting||Live Streaming||eSports Betting||Minimum Deposit|
All of the sites on our top ten list can hit, pitch and field to put it into baseball terms, but some are hitting .300 in specific areas, and are in danger of being dropped from the rotation in others.
This means that each bookmaker in our list has specific strengths. If you are on the search for sports books that suits a particular need, then you will want to know to which site you ought to be heading. Here are a range of betting site specifics, and which site fits each specific criteria the best.
|Best Overall Betting Site for Japan||888sport||Best for Promotions||BetWinner|
|Best New Sportsbook for Japan||Mr.Play||Best for Exchange Betting||Betfair|
|Best for in-Play Betting||Parimatch||No. 1 for Payment Options||1xBet|
|Top for Mobile Apps||TonyBet||Leading Site for Odds||Bet365|
|Strongest Security||BetVictor||Best for eSport Betting||Betway|
Sports betting is legal in Japan and has been since 1998, but there are severe restrictions in place, as will be examined later. Sports betting in Japan is controlled by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology and there are really only two kinds – toto betting and pari-mutuel betting. Neither are quite like sports betting as the rest of the world understands it though.
There are no official sports books in Japan as the government does not allow them, and there are definitely no online sports books that operate within the country. Japanese sports bettors therefore have to venture abroad – online at least – to place their sports bets. Technically, such sites are not operating illegally or legally, but if you are based in Japan and you use a site that accepts Japanese customers, your chances of falling foul of the law are zero.
Here then are the best three international online betting sites – in our opinion – that accept Japanese players.
As there are no sports books in Japan, there are no welcome bonuses available in Japan, either – it really is that simple. However, that’s not something that stops Japanese sports bettors from acquiring them. Global sites that accept Japanese customers offer bonuses, and some of them are even offered in Japanese yen.
Here is a quick guide to some of the most common sports bet bonuses offered to Japanese sports bettors.
A free bet is a wager than you can place without using any of your own money. Sometimes a sports betting site will offer you a bet as a reward for signing up with them, but most commonly a site will give you a sports bet for free if you make a bet of your own first. These types of offers are usually something like ‘bet €10, get a €10 free bet.’
There may be restrictions in place about how you can use your free bet, but usually these limitations are not too terrible. One thing you need to be aware of that is common with all free bet offers is that if your free bet is a winning one, only your winnings are paid into your account. Your free bet stake is never returned no matter if your bet wins or loses.
Here are some example ‘free bets’ you ought to check out:
The second most common bonus offered by sports betting sites is what is known as a welcome bonus. If you have ever played at an online casino, then this concept should be familiar to you. When you join a sports book, you may be offered a matched deal. Whatever you make as your first deposit, the sports book will offer you the same amount in bonus money.
This is a ‘100% matched bonus’. If your deposit is $100, then you will get back $100 in bonus money. Bonus money is ‘money’ is so much as you can use it to place wagers, but you can never withdraw it. Once you have used it you may also have to make a minimum amount of wagers using your own money before you can withdraw any winnings you’ve made from it.
There is one thing that all bonus offers have in common – the dreaded terms and conditions. A deal where you get ¥10,000 for virtually nothing may look amazing on the surface, but the gloss is taken off once you take a deep dive into the T&Cs. It’s not like online sports books are trying to trick you – far from it. It’s just that if they offered a ¥10,000 sign up bonus to everyone who signed up for them, they would soon go out of business.
Here are some of the key terms you need to understand when reading the terms and conditions attached to any welcome offer.
The easiest way to commence your sports betting career in Japan is to pick one of recommended betting sites. We strongly suggest that we do, but you also quite free to make your own decision. If you do decide to ‘go it alone’ we feel you ought to take note of the following steps, to make sure you’re making the correct choice for you.
The vast majority of the best sports books in Japan have an outstanding number of markets – certainly all the bookies in our top ten list of the best do. Most sports bettors find this array of choices a little bewildering, so they choose to concentrate upon specific markets, which we think is ideal. Here’s a quick overview of three of the most popular sporting pastimes in Japan, and how you can wager upon them.
Football is the truly global game, and while the sport took a while to become popular in Japan (the national professional football league – the J-League – only came into being in 1992), the leading football matches in the country attract over 20,000 spectators. Betting on the J-League via the ‘toto’ is currently one of the only legitimate ways of betting on football in Japan.
Of course, if you want to bet on football, you are spoilt for choice. Most bookies offer access to practically every football match taking place on the planet, from major competitions such as the FIFA World Cup or the English Premier League, to youth competitions and reserve league games practically anywhere.
Most people outside of Asia and America think that baseball is only played in the USA, but nothing could be further than the truth. Baseball is the number one watched sport in Japan, and the Nippon Baseball League is massive. In addtion, Japanese baseball fans keep close tabs on their heroes who have gone on the cause ructions in MLB, such as Ichiro Suzuki, Yu Darvish and Shohei Ohtani.
The vast majority of sports betting sites will have easy access to MLB and NBL games, plus other major baseball leagues in South Korea, Mexico and Australia, for example.
eSports Betting Sites
Asia is where eSports and eSports betting sites have really really taken off. Japan is one of the nations at the forefront of the eSports revolution, and some of the leading eSports events in Fortnite, League of Legends, CS:GO and Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six are watched by larger crowds than at football or baseball games, if you include spectators watching online.
Many industry experts predict that eSports will eventually overtake ‘real world’ sports in terms of attendance and popularity. If you enjoy playing video games then you’ve probably watched Twitch streamers or even global eSports events. If so, now is the time to put your knowledge to the test with the best in eSports betting.
Other Sports to Bet On in Japan
It would be impossible to list just three activities in Japan that are popular and that are available to bet upon. Below is a list of other sports popualr in the country. All should be easy to place wagers upon, especially at our recommended sites.
Where to Find the Best Betting Odds
The odds at online sports betting sites are calculated by industry experts. They are carefully worked out so that no matter the result of any particular sports contest on which odds are offered, the sports book has the best chance of making a profit. This is of course how sports books stay in business!
Most sports books tailor their odds so that they are in line with their rivals, but a few take an extra daily step and check their odds to make sure their prices are at least identical to the best prices being offered by their competitors. This is known as ‘best odds guaranteed’. Below you will find three of our favourite bookies that take this step to make sure their customers get the most beneficial betting odds available.
As there are no legal sports books in Japan, the payment methods open to people in Japan at online bookies are the same as they are anywhere in the world … almost. Because of the way Japanese society works, credit and debit cards have not really taken off in the country as they have elsewhere. Indeed, paying for anything in Japan with anything other than cash is considered impolite.
Perhaps the easiest alternative to a bank (or otherwise) issued debit or credit card is by using an eWallet. Japan people mainly use eWallets where cash payments are available, such as paying online. The largest and most popular eWallet in Japan by far is PayPal. Notably some other popular global eWallet soltuions such as Skrill and Paysafecard are not available in the country, although Neteller has been since 2018. It’s easy to make a bookmaker withdrawal or deposit via PayPal.
A Bitcoin bookmaker is a rare site (and sight) in Japan. Despite the growing popularity of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, most sports books available to people in Japan don’t accept them. You may be able to find a Bitcoin bookmaker, if you search hard enough.
Here is some information about common payment methods available to sports bettors in Japan.
|Payment Method||Fees||Min Bookmaker Deposit*||Min Bookmaker Withdrawal*|
|Debit/credit card||0%||€5 (¥650)||€10 (¥1,300)|
|Bank Transfer||0% (banks may charge)||€10||€10|
|PayPal||0% (withdrawal fee may apply)||€5||€5|
|Cryptocurrencies||0%||0.001 BTC (¥4,000)||0.005 BTC (¥20,000)|
*varies by bookmaker
It’s no surprise that mobile phones are extremely popular in Japan, seeing that the country is an absolute hotbed of modern technology. It’s estimated that around 95 million people in the country own a smartphone out of a population of 125 million. Unlike most countries though where Android handsets tend to dominate the market, the Apple-Android share in Japan is about 50:50, with the iPhone SE being the most popular phone model.
Sports books first began to take the mobile market seriously in 2010, with many of them creating mobile apps that could be downloaded and installed. The move away from apps though began in 2015 with the creation of HTML5. This site-building language allowed for the creation of adaptive websites meaning desktop sites looked fine and worked perfectly well via mobile browsers too.
By 2020 most sites had stopped offering apps and concentrated on their adaptive websites instead. Below are three of what we think are the best mobile offerings available to mobile sports bettors in Japan.
Gambling is legal in Japan, although restricted. Japanese people adore gambling though, and find ways to ‘circumvent’ legalities. For example, pachinko – a mix of slots and pinball – is incredibly popular in Japan, but you cannot legally win money playing it. Pachinko players are awarded ‘prizes’ for winning at pachinko, which they can then sell for money … usually at a special shop right next door to the pachinko parlour they are playing at.
Sports betting is restricted in Japan too, but Japanese sports bettors have a way of betting on sports without doing anything illegal. They tend to access international sports betting sites that are willing to accept Japanese customers. The internet in Japan is not as restricted as it is in other Asian countries (such as China and South Korea) which means that people are able to access international sites without the need of a VPN.
All this may soon be moot, anyhow. Like the US, Japan is softening its attitude to online sports betting and moves are currently being made to make specific aspects of sports betting legal. It is thought that the Japanese goverment is currently considering the relaxation of betting rules on either the J-League (soccer) or the NPB (baseball). It all goes well, then all barriers preventing people in Japan from betting could soon be taken down.
In sports betting, there’s never any guarantee you’ll make a profit. That’s as true in Japan as it is anywhere else in the world. With that said, there are certain tactics and strategies you can use to vastly improve your chances. Below are five top tips to help you out in this regard.
One thing you must remember when it comes to your sports betting is that there’s no easy route to winning money, no matter what anyone will tell you. The internet is awash with betting systems that promise ‘guaranteed income’ but mostly they are all useless.
Here are a few tips for your sports betting endeavours that you should actually find useful.
If you are tired of the restrictions placed upon you as a sports bettor in Japan, then good news is likely to be around the corner. The current ‘vibes’ being given off by the Japanese government regarding the full legalisation of most forms of sports betting seem extremely positive. With Japan seemingly primed to follow the US model of sports betting legalisation, it’s a good time to be a Japan fan of wagering on sports.
You don’t have to wait until full legalisation of sports betting in Japan anyhow, as many international sports betting sites – such as the ones listed here – are completely happy to accept Japanese customers. You may be operating in a slightly grey area, but you are not going to be prosecuted for using such sites, and no one has ever been. Feel free to enjoy your sports betting, and may the sun shine luck down upon you! Arigatou!
Really we recommend any of the sites in our list of the top ten. We think 888sport offers the most for customers in Japan, with Bet365 and Betfair not far behind.
Yes and no. You can't use an online book in Japan, as there aren't any. You are free to use sports books that are not based in Japan, such as the ones that we have lsited.
You may not need to use a VPN to access sports betting sites that exist outside of Japan, as most are not blocked. A VPN can help you access some sites. If you use a VPN, use a well-known one such as ExpressVPN or NordVPN
Yes, Betfair does accept customers from Japan. Betfair offers a fixed odds betting side and exchange betting options, with the latter often generating the best prices.
Most sites will now cover eSports and especially for Asian customers, as eSports betting sites are popular in the continent. You can choose any of the sites on our top ten list, but we feel Betway is number one for eSports betting.
Some international betting sites accept Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, but most don't. If you want to use Bitcoin at a site, you should be able to find a Bitcoin bookmaker if you search diligently enough.