Japan and video gaming go hand in hand. After all, this is the land that gave us the likes of Nintendo, Sony, Konami and Capcom. But what is the deal with esports gambling in Japan? After all, gamers in dozens of countries around the world can now legally and safely bet on esports like League of Legends and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.

We found that if you want to enjoy esports betting Japan treats this activity a little differently. After all, there are pretty strict gambling laws in Japan that you won’t want to disobey. However, there are still some ways that you can enjoy esports gambling in Japan without getting in trouble with the law. So keep reading to see how you can enjoy some safe and fun esports betting in Japan.

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Is gambling legal in Japan?

Japan has always had strict laws regarding all forms of gambling. This is especially true for betting on sport. As it stands, only a small number of sports can be legally bet on in Japan. Most of these tend to be racing sports such as horse racing, motor racing and even boat racing.

However, the gambling laws in Japan have been slowly adjusting in the past few years. As a result, people in Japan are now allowed to put down some fairly specific bets on sports like Japanese football.

It’s important to note that current gambling laws in Japan forbid anything approaching an online bookmaker. Instead people will try a kind of toto or pools betting. However, we should note that there are many offshore betting sites that accept Japanese players. While it’s not strictly legal for Japanese people to use such sites, laws aren’t enforced against anybody betting at such offshore bookmakers.

The current state of esports in Japan

For a country with such an illustrious video gaming legacy, Japan has been relatively slow to keep up with the esports phenomenon. Neighbouring countries like South Korea have taken the esports world by storm, but Japan has stayed stuck in the past.

Much of this has been put down to excessive gambling regulations that govern how sports and competitive events are played in the nation. It’s also fair to say that Japan has had a famously insular video gaming scene. This means that Japanese players simply aren’t interested in some of the biggest esports like Counter Strike and League of Legends.

However, it’s clear that things are slowly changing. Recently we have seen the likes of the Japanese Esports Union helping to push forward competitive gaming in the nation. This organisation has been given the power to grant players licenses for competitive play.

Plus a handful of international esports tournaments like the Clash Royale League World Finals recently took place in Japan. All of which means that in terms of esports betting Japan might have a bright future after all.

Esports Betting Japan

© Ubisoft Brazil

What are the best esports betting sites in Japan?

Current gambling laws means that there are no homegrown esports betting sites in Japan. This means that if you wish to use the best esports betting sites in Japan, you’ll have to visit an offshore online bookmaker.

Thankfully many of the best esports bookmakers are licensed for being able to accept Japanese customers. What’s best is that many of these betting sites even allow you to make deposits and withdrawals in Japanese yen.

These include classic European bookmakers like Betway and Bet365 who are more than capable of giving you top esports odds for anything from Dota 2 to Overwatch. Other good options include the likes of Pinnacle and 888sport. Plus it’s worth noting that more and more bookmakers are starting to open up to the massive Japanese market. So be sure to keep checking back here to find the best esports betting sites in Japan.


The most popular esports in Japan

You might find that the Japanese esports scene is a little different from the scene you’d find in North America or Europe. This is because many Japanese gamers will tend to want to play games that come from homegrown powerhouse developers like Nintendo, Sony, Konami and Capcom. As a result, you might not see too many people playing esports that have been developed outside of Japan like Valve’s Dota 2 or Blizzard Entertainment’s StarCraft 2.

Some people have also suggested that Japanese gamers aren’t into some of the more violent first-person shooter esports like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive or Rainbow Six. However, anybody who’s seen the popularity of an esport like Street Fighter V Arcade Edition in Japan will know that this is not the case. Plus the Japanese Esports Union actively encourages gamers to play Call of Duty Black Ops which isn’t exactly all sunshine and flowers.

While the esports scene in Japan used to be markedly different from that of the rest of the world, it’s clear that things have started to become more similar. After all, the nation now regularly hosts tournaments for everything from Clash Royale to CSGO. Although there will always be uniquely Japanese esports sensations like Puyo Puyo, the nation is now a central part of the global competitive gaming scene.


The biggest Japanese esports tournaments

Japan has quickly learned to get on with the competitive gaming scene. Unsurprisingly many of these gaming tournaments were focused around the nation’s homegrown video game developers.

The Konami Esports Championship is a great example of this, although the much-missed Tenkaichi Otogesai was also a massive hit. This was a collaborative effort between Japanese developer powerhouses like Bandai Namco, Konami, Sega and Taito. Plus we can’t not mention the world famous Tougeki Super Battle Opera contest that is one of the world’s premier fighting game tournaments.

It’s been interesting to see how many established competitive gaming tournaments have started coming to Japan. Recent examples of this include the likes of the Arena of Valor World Cup and International Championship that came to Japan in 2019. We’ve also seen the eXTREMESLAND Counter Strike contest picking up plenty of fans in Japan, while the League of Legends Rift Rivals has also proven to be a big hit in the nation.

However, the biggest Japanese esports tournament that truly captured the attention of the world was the Clash Royale League World Finals that came to Tokyo in 2018. This marked a watershed moment for mobile gaming and Japanese esports and proved that anything is possible in this video game-crazy country.

Clash Royale League World Finals

© Supercell

How do people make deposits for esports betting in Japan?

If you want to try esports betting Japanese people will have to make some real money deposits. Thankfully many of our recommended offshore esports betting sites will now allow you to add funds to your account in Japanese yen. This means that you can avoid any processing fees that might take place if you had to change currencies.

Most people who use such betting sites from Japan will tend to use an ewallet for making deposits and withdrawals. Doing so provides you with a safe and efficient way to keep your betting funds separate from your regular bank account.

Most ewallet deposits should be transferred almost instantly and you shouldn’t have to suffer any processing fees. It might take a little longer from ewallet withdrawals to land back in your account, but it shouldn’t take much over 48 hours.

Don’t forget that a handful of esports betting sites will now also give you chance to use a cryptocurrency like Bitcoin for making swift deposits and withdrawals. Just make sure that these betting sites have all of their licensing in place before you put your money down.


Where does esports gambling in Japan go from here?

It’s clear that esports betting Japan-style is just getting started. For many years the country has been held back by some fairly repressive gambling laws. But it looks like things might finally be starting to loosen up in the Land of the Rising Sun.

It may be some time before we start to see homegrown Japanese esports betting sites like you get in other countries. But people in Japan are still able to use offshore esports betting sites like the ones that we feature here without getting in trouble with the law. These betting sites will give you a safe and easy way to bet on anything from League of Legends to Street Fighter V.

Japan has always been a global powerhouse in video gaming. As such it might be frustrating that the nation has been slow to get up to speed with prevailing esports trends. But we have already seen plenty of signs that things are changing.

From the establishment of the Japanese Esports Union to the success of the Clash Royale League World Finals, it’s clear that esports in Japan is just getting started. This ultimately means that it can’t be too long betting esports betting in Japan well and truly takes off.  Just don’t forget to keep checking back here for some tips for successful esports betting Japanese gamers can try.

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