Japan to legalize online gambling ?

With a largely adult population of some 130 million souls, a well developed Internet infrastructure and relatively high per capita incomes, Japan has been eyed by more than a few online gambling groups as a market with considerable potential, and a report this week on the OG Paper website will therefore have been read with interest.

The unsourced report claims that the ruling Liberal Democratic Party in Japan has opened lines of communication with unnamed global gaming companies specifically to discuss the possibilities for online gambling in the region post-2010. Although there is already online gambling activity serving the Asian country, as far as is known there are no Internet gambling venues operating within its borders.

InfoPowa has so far not been able to confirm the OG report from other sources.

OG claims that the Japanese government hopes to generate additional revenues through legitimising online and land casino gambling, and reports that horse racing and lottery activities are legal in Japan but do not provide significant revenues. Presenting a tempting - if currently depressed - example for Japanese politicians is the initial success of the Singapore and Macau land gambling markets.

Achieving the government's objective will not be simple; it is anticipated that there will be determined political and civic opposition to the concept of legalised and regulated online gambling in Japan, and the government has apparently already assured interested parties that an online gambling industry within Japan's borders will include a strict regulatory regime.

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