Japanese players are interested in a number of online games – but the favourite sport to bet on is the same as in many other places around the world: horse racing.
Although this sport is considered high class in other parts of the world, especially in the UK, this is definitely not the case in Japan. Horse racing is not the place for social gatherings and fancy outfits, – it is purely for the entertainment of betting.
Although the Fuchu Racecourse in Tokyo is world famous and visited by many thousands of tourists every year, it is not really somewhere that Japanese players themselves visit with their families very often. Fuchu was build in 1933 and many famous races take place there – including the Japan Cup and the Japan Derby.
Other popular games for Japanese players include Keirin, which is a sort of bicycle racing. This was considered a uniquely Japanese form of gambling until the recent opening of Keirin velodromes in Korea. Although most of the racers are men, in 2012, “Girls Keirin” was established and people can now bet on female racers competing. Usually nine racers cycle around a 333.3-500m track for 2000-3000m. The racers cycle very fast at an average speed is 60km/h, and at the finishing line it can go up to 70 km/h.
Kyoutei, or powerboat racing, is also very popular. Like Keirin it used to be exclusively Japanese until 2002 when a Kyoutei stadium was opened in Korea. The racecourse is usually built on a lake, river or at sea. Six boats race around two buoys, which are 300m apart. They do three circuits and reach speeds of up to 80km/h. Both men and women have always competed in this sport since its inception.
Then of course there is Auto Racing, where eight racers drive around a 500m oval course for six laps. The straight-line speed can go speed up to 150km/h and 90km/h at corners. Although there used to be a car race as well, there is only motorcycle racing now.
Another favourite sport for Japanese players is Pachinko. This is a form of gambling similar to slot machines and is very popular in Japan. There are very many Pachinko parlours, giving easy access to players. They are often located close to train stations and have bright and decorative exteriors to attract visitors. In the past, this form of entertainment used to be mainly for men but these days many women go as well. You can exchange your winnings with cigarettes, electronics, grocery, silver, gold etc. You can also indirectly win money since there are usually places close by where you can sell the prizes you won.
Shinko Kuji is also popular. This is betting on soccer matches. You can either bet on which team will win or the scores of a team. It is often known as “toto”. Although there were people against using soccer matches for betting when it initially started in 2001, the popularity seems to be increasing now that it is available online as well as at convenience stores. Here is a list of legal online casinos reviewed by CasinoTopOnline.
And then there is the classic and very old Maajan or Mahjong. Although this is not officially a form gambling, many people do consider Maajan as gambling because betting takes place wherever people play this ancient game. There are places where one can book a table to play with friends or with strangers, in a similar way to poker games in other parts of the world. The reason people go to places to play Maajan rather than playing at home is because it makes loud noise when mixing the tiles, which can cause problems when living in an apartment.