Japanese authorities suggest playing illegal casinos is crime
The National Police Agency of Japan (NPA) has issued a statement on Monday this week, explaining that participation in online gambling websites that are not licensed may constitute a crime. The agency was cited by Inside Asian Gaming, a respected local media outlet, focusing on developments in the Asian gambling industry.
According to the outlet, the police warned that participation by players from the country on websites that are listed as "licensed" overseas is not the same as playing at a legal website. The police stated that "gambling is a crime" and urged citizens to stay way. The police statement also reminded that there were instances in which players were arrested for "gambling-related crimes."
The police then went to outline two distinct cases when gambling may be considered a crime. NPA said that one person was arrested in their home because they were simply playing at a live dealer game at an online casino overseas from their home in Japan. In another instance, a citizen was arrested because they allowed another person to access overseas gambling website through a computer in their home.
Presently, gambling-related crimes carry a fairly low financial penalty of around $3,380 but may end a person for up to three years in prison. The NPA has confirmed that it has been conducting similar "sting operations" against residents already. Last year, 16 people were arrested in similar incidents.
Japan does not permit consumers to access overseas online gambling websites to play games of chance, such as slots, table games or live dealer games. Doing so is considered illegal, but the country is sending a clear signal to citizens that participation can also be equal to a crime.
Japan recently made it clear that the country does not intent to use the Integrated Resort project, which focuses on the land-based sector, to push along any amendments though the existing regulation that would make online gambling legal. In fact, country Prime Minister Fumio Kishida recently confirmed that there were no such plans nor a very good chance of them ever being realized.
While in practice all countries can prosecute citizens for participating in gambling, not many do. For example, Australia is all determined to go after the illegal gambling websites but it’s almost never keen to target its own citizens for simply participating in online casinos, even though the activity is explicitly banned in the country as well.