Legal basketball betting in Japan is ongoing
Japanese basketball fans may finally have the chance to legally bet on their favorite B League team in the coming year. In December of last year, an amendment law was enacted to include basketball in the Japanese sports lottery (toto).
Japanese sports lottery (toto)
The Japanese Sports Lottery is managed by the Japan Sports Council (JSC) under the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. Lottery turnover in 2020 was approximately 101.7 billion yen. Currently, the Japanese sports lottery is limited to football and mainly to the J-League. The markets available are pre-match (win / draw / lose) results only. The offers are therefore extremely limited compared to international betting sites like bet365, which is also gaining popularity in Japan. Betting on Japanese football still remains in the context of a lottery rather than a sports bet, the legal provision having as its main objective the promotion of the sport in general.
The proceeds of the sports lottery are a source of grants for sports events and competitions, the training of athletes and instructors, and the maintenance and improvement of local sports facilities. Thus, the purchase of a sports lottery is seen not only as entertainment but also as a contribution to funds to support and promote local sport in general. In other words, Japanese soccer betting is for those who just want to have a little more fun watching soccer games, but not for avid gamers.
Legal B-League Betting Options
The legal amendment to include basketball is primarily aimed at increasing sales and ensuring stable financial resources for grants. In anticipation of a decline in national sports subsidies after the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, a JSC task force was looking for ways to improve sales. This decision also came in response to the financial challenges facing the national sports market, due to the coronavirus pandemic. Under the revised law to add the B-league to the lottery, the available markets will also be expanded to include scores, team rankings, tournament results, in addition to match results (win / lose).
This revision of the sports lottery law can be seen as a big step, given the generally strict sports betting regulations in Japan. Legal sports betting options in the country are limited to public gambling (horse racing, boat racing, bicycle racing, car racing) and sports lottery. All of this is legalized with the provisions of special laws. Nonetheless, in order to justify and maintain its special legal status, a high degree of public interest is required for domestic gaming operations. This makes the yield of Japanese gambling options significantly lower than that of foreign bookmakers. To put it another way, B-League betting in the form of a sports lottery is less attractive in terms of return than offshore betting sites.
The expansion of the sports lottery to include other sports such as baseball has been discussed in recent years and this time the B-League has become the choice. Currently, the B-League is embarking on a bold structural reform. From the 2026-27 season, it is expected that the promotion and demotion of teams based on the results of competitions will be removed and a new method will be introduced to divide the categories based on the size of the activity. of the club. According to Shinji Shimada, president of the B-League, “his goal is to aim for the second biggest league in the world after the American professional NBA. The entry of League B into the sports lottery is also expected to energize and stimulate national interests in the league.