Been to Japan recently? No, me either, but a lot is changing. The number of smartphone users has grown from 52.83 million in 2015 to around 66 million now. Despite the proliferation of phones, it’s set to rise still further to around 70 million in a couple of years.
As we’ve experienced here in Europe, the popularity and TV advertising for casinos and online gambling games like blackjack and slots has risen markedly in the last few years. In Japan they’re now seeing the very start of this, and despite it being a country which has only just begun its exploration of iGaming, the potential is huge.
It should come as no surprise that one of the most high tech and wirelessly connected countries in the world is choosing the comfort of their own smartphones to entertain themselves in a new way.
Japan has been on a long road of introducing new ways to stimulate people and is experiencing a change of pace in its culture. It has even gone as far as trying a 4 day work week to provide a better work-life balance for its population. That means more time for smartphone use.
So…. why is it so successful?
Firstly, the country has relaxed its laws on the activity as it looks to attract new visitors in the future, with a plan to allow physical casinos to open doors within the next decade. Las Vegas giant Sands has been looking into Yokohama near Tokyo, while MGM has its eye on Osaka. Many others have been on the lookout for where to set up shop as well.
The official government selection will come in 2022 when the first three licenses to build will be given. In the meantime, the Japanese population has already gotten a taste for the games and has been demanding more and more outlets to be able to play.
Secondly, the cultural shift in recent decades has been significant and felt throughout all aspects of Japanese life. The change has moved its culture towards a more open and global outlook on most things, with the introduction of international workers and influences. Because of this, interest in casinos has been slowly integrating into society, destigmatizing the idea of gambling and taking it from a frowned upon resource to a standard form of distraction.
Lastly, technology has been the motor behind the growth of Japan’s economy and its main motivator of change in many respects. This sparked a phenomenon that has affected the way the population can gain access to things they were not able to conceive before. In a country that is already thinking of building the next generation society, it makes sense that anyone can play any game they want, from nearly anywhere at any time.
Where is it going?
The future of gambling and casinos is bright in Japan, smartphone games are becoming part of everyday entertainment for regular citizens, creating its own form and culture as it grows. With plans in the future for big betting houses to open their doors, this will undoubtedly expand the possibilities and bring in a new wave of tourists for the country.
Let’s say the growth of gambling in Japan is as sure as a bet can get.