Social Online Gaming Too Close to Gambling in Japan

Published Wednesday, May 09, 2012 - Online-Casinos.com

The Japanese population likes to play games and is big on playing anything that is even remotely different from all the rest. Socially the Japanese are keeping to their traditional one for all, all for one approach that has kept the nation intact for centuries. Gambling in Japan is generally banned by their Criminal Code however there are several exceptions, including betting on horse racing and certain motor sports.

Public sports, lottery and toto (football pools) are held under special laws in order to increase the income of national and local governments, as well as to offer a form of entertainment for many people. Pachinko is a pinball-like slot machine game. It is officially not considered gambling because Japanese laws regard pachinko as an exception to the criminal code on gambling for historical, monetary, and cultural reasons. Pachinko parlours can be found all over Japan, and they are operated by private companies. As of 2011, there are about 12,480 pachinko parlors in Japan. If a win is made in the Pachinko parlour players are rewarded with tokens they can redeem for cash at shops outside of the parlour, that are usually owned by the parlour operator.

Now with the advent of social gaming in Japan a new activity that comes very close to real-money gambling has come about. Japan’s leading social gaming site Gree has had to keep a closer watch on its content. A process known as “compugacha,” a compression of “complete gacha”, which describes how game players pay for virtual goods, comes into the grey area that critics believe is very close to real money wagering. Gree CEO and founder Yoshikazu Tanaka often referred to as the Japanese equivalent of Mark Zuckerburg has said he would work with other social game companies to draft industry guidelines. Sitting at a virtual card table while betting on the outcome of the cards with virtual points has regulators concerned that this is too close to the real thing.

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