On December 2, 2020, the House of Councilors plenary session passed an amendment to the Sports Promotion Voting Law (“Act on Implementation of Sports Promotion Voting, etc.”), and basketball was added to the target of sports promotion voting (so-called “toto”). It was decided. For the sports market, which has been hit hard by the spread of the new coronavirus infection, the profits from it are highly expected.
Currently, in Japan, gambling activities including sports betting are subject to punishment by law (Article 185 of the Penal Code, etc.), and are illegal except for some public gambling and other legally permitted acts. For example, the soccer lottery by toto is exceptionally legal under the Sports Promotion Voting Law, and horse racing, bicycle racing, etc. are exceptionally legal under each special law, but with this revision, not only soccer but also basketball is targeted. Betting will also be allowed. Other sports may be added to the target of toto in the future, but how likely is it that the sports betting market will develop in Japan and become a new source of revenue?
Sports betting situation, booming outside Japan
In other countries, there are a wide variety of laws and regulations regarding sports betting. For example, in the United Kingdom, since the gambling legislation was renewed in 1961, sports betting has been actively practiced to this day with private companies running bookmakers, and sports in many other countries. Betting is allowed. Especially in recent years, sports betting has been in the limelight in the United States. The reason is that in May 2018, the US Supreme Court decided that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA), a federal law that prohibits sports betting, was “unconstitutional.” So, there is a move to deregulate sports betting throughout the United States. Although it is a figure before the spread of the new coronavirus infection, it is said that the US sports market before deregulation due to the unconstitutional judgment of the Federal Supreme Court is about 50 trillion yen, of which about 16 trillion yen is illegal sports. It is also said that betting was occupied. It is expected that the ratio of the legal betting market will increase rapidly in the future.
Will sports betting develop in Japan?
On the other hand, in Japan, there are strong voices cautious about the total lifting of the ban on sports betting, and it is only exceptionally permitted by special law in some sports as mentioned above. Therefore, there are many disadvantages for the betting consumer.
It is only applicable to professional sports. Betting on students, amateurs, and business groups is not acceptable. The scale of the event is large, and it is strong enough to monitor match-fixing, but baseball and sumo are the only two remaining sports. There may be motorsports, but judging match-fixing is difficult. Due to past events, baseball may not be possible, and sumo is a Shinto ritual.