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Japan has started legal sports betting discussions

According to reports in the Financial Times, the Japanese government has started to discuss the potential legalisation of gambling on baseball and football in the country. These discussions are internal and top secret but are causing quite a stir in the industry. There has been a longstanding taboo against these kinds of opportunities for people in Japan – so what has sparked the change?

Could begin as soon as 2024

Based on the secret discussions reported in the Financial Times, a combined sports betting market could be created over the next few years. This market is estimated to be worth more than $65bn (£47bn) and so is certainly something to take note of.

By 2024, there could be sports betting on the Nippon Professional League baseball, assuming everything goes to plan with the deregulation. It is also expected that there will be fuller deregulation of betting on the J-League which does already have a pool-style lottery system in place.

Why the change?

It is common knowledge that the legalisation of sports betting has seen a lot of resistance in Japan over the years and so this move might come as a bit of a surprise. However, when you consider the fact that the professional sports betting industry in Japan lost over $2.5bn (£18bn) last year due to the cancellation of games in a COVID-19 world, you can see why they might consider this now.

The sensitivity towards betting on football and baseball has been lowered because of the pandemic and the damage that it has caused. While it is possible to bet on horseracing, motorboat racing, motorcycle racing and cycling, other sports haven’t yet been approved.

Hopefully, this market soon opens up and more opportunities for operators and affiliates will be available. The Japanese market could be extremely profitable for anyone who gets involved.

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