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Sports betting and the law in Japan.

The current situation concerning the introduction of sports gambling (soccer betting) into Japan

With sports betting in Japan, the situation at present is that "Toto" (soccer betting) is the only form of gambling being promoted.

Soccer betting, the sole form of sports gambling in this country, commenced nationwide from the start of the 2001 J-League season, and is now in its 8th consecutive year of operation. Participants (gamblers) get the chance to personally predict the results of the J-League games. Also with tickets priced from just 100 yen per bet, it is both reasonably priced and convenient. Furthermore, the media coverage of the recently introduced 1 billion yen jackpot has resulted in ticket sales successfully passing the 60 billion yen mark in the jackpot's inaugural year.

However, after witnessing the successful start in soccer betting ticket sales, revenues since 2002 have been declining year upon year. In fact sales in 2006 were just 130 billion yen, falling to a quarter of the level of that reached in the inaugural year1. There has been much negative opinion expressed as to whether soccer betting should continue. Since September 2006, a new way to bet on soccer game results, called "Big" was established. This is where a computer predicts all the results randomly, and if the better gets a win and carry over (this is the situation when there is no better who correctly predicted all results, the prize money is then carried over for the next round of betting), the highest prize money that can be won is 6 billion yen.

Since its launch "Big" has triggered new interest in Japanese soccer betting. In 2007 Big posted 50 billion yen in sales for 2007, and then went on to make history in 2008 (December's sale total is still to be counted) by achieving a figure of 90 billion by the end of November.

The objective of this type of Japanese soccer betting is to assist in the promotion of sport. However, on the other hand there have been criminal laws introduced to regulate this area, in particular laws intended for the public management of gambling. Basically, the objective of these laws is not to divert the existing funds devoted to the promotion of sport, but to ensure that a new system can be brought forward to guarantee that such funds are managed appropriately. To raise capital for the above mentioned system special laws were brought in to authorise public gambling, as gambling in general is prohibited by the Japanese criminal law. Another reason behind the introduction of Toto was to provide funding for projects which the government itself could not supply.

Below, for the purpose of presenting a more detailed understanding of the Japanese soccer betting system, there is an analysis of how the criminal law regulates gambling, or more specifically, the sale of betting tickets. There is also an examination on how gambling, particularly the system for betting ticket sales, is approved by special laws.

The Law System Governing Betting and the Lottery in Japan

Gambling, that is to say, the wagering of one's assets, is akin to relying on the result of extrinsic circumstances2. Furthermore, the actual act of gambling is, in essence, putting other peoples' assets at risk. These ideas pose a threat to the custom of which the prosperous Japanese economy is based on, namely that of working hard to maintain a good livelihood. The criminal law system in Japan recognizes these concepts and that incidental to gambling comes the risk of theft and corruption in society. Therefore, strict regulations have been laid down to prevent and defend against such criminal activity3.

Private gambling and lotteries in Japan are basically prohibited by chapter 2 section 23 of the Fundamental Japanese Criminal Law. More specifically: article 185 covers gambling; article 186 covers habitual gambling, the creation of gambling groups, colluding to profit from gambling and gambling locations; and article 187 covers the sale of lottery tickets.

Articles 185, 186 and 187 are now covered below:

Firstly, article 185--anyone caught gambling can be sentenced to either a small fine or a penalty of up to 500,000 yen. However, this law is not only limited to people who gamble things for pleasure, it also regulates situations where 2 or more people together try to profit illicitly from influencing the outcome of a betting game. This law covers all types of items which are gambled (please note however, that items such as food, drink and tobacco, which are wagered for insignificant amounts are not criminalised under the Fundamental Japanese Criminal Law).

Secondly, article 186. Provision (1)--habitual gamblers, if caught can be imprisoned for up to 3 years. Provision (2)--people who run gambling houses, form groups to plot gambling tactics or start betting rings, if caught, can be sentenced to between 3 months and 5 years in prison. Paragraph 1 of article 186 covers the gambling situations stipulated in article 185, but those of a more serious nature. Paragraph 2 of article 186 covers situations where people, although not gambling personally, open gambling houses or become so called "bookies".

Finally, article 187. Provision (1)--people, who sell lottery tickets illicitly, if caught, can be sentenced to a maximum of two years in prison and/or a penalty of up to 1,500,000 yen. Provision (2)--people, who act as a broker (even they do not gain commissions) from illicit lottery ticket sales, if caught, can subject to a maximum of 12 months in jail and/or a fine of up to 1 million yen. Provision (3)--this covers situations where people who have not committed offences under provisions (1) and (2) but who have traded lottery tickets, can be given a small financial penalty and/or a fine of up to 200,000 yen. Paragraph 1 of article 187 aims to prevent situations where people have attempted to influence the outcome of lotteries through issuing manipulated tickets, selling tickets or even actually drawing them in a lottery. Paragraph 2 of article 187 aims to prevent cases where, although not selling or purchasing tickets directly, people act as brokers in the illicit trading of tickets. Paragraph 3 of article 187 covers situations where people illicitly transfer or assign lottery tickets.

As considered above, in Japan every private act of gambling or sale of lottery tickets is strictly prohibited by the criminal law. However, after the Second World War, publicly run gambling was allowed, under the auspices of the Japanese government, and is recognized by special laws for the promotion of regional economies, industry and manufacturing (4). The types of public run gambling authorized are as follows: Horseracing; Bike Racing (now referred to as Keirin); Motorbike Racing; Motorboat Racing; the Lottery; Loto; and Scratch Cards.

In the next few chapters, there will be an analysis of the various types of public run gambling. This analysis will cover the legal regulations, criminal sanctions, management, use of proceeds, the methods of betting and the objectives behind public run gambling.

The Special Laws which Govern Public Gambling Horse Racing

The law governing horse racing in Japan is the Horse Racing Act 1948 (now referred to as the HRA) (Showa Period 23rd year, law number 158).

As stipulated in horse racing law, the institutions charged with controlling horse racing matters are the Japan Racing Association (now referred to as the JRA) and the Prefectural Governments of Japan (now referred to as the Prefectural Governments) (article 1 of the HRA). However, the Minister of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications (now referred to as the Home Affairs Minister) and the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (now referred to as the Agriculture Minister), through consultation, are responsible for administering special fiscal matters for particular economic zones, including municipalities (now referred to as the Municipalities) (article 1 paragraph 2 of the HRA).

The JRA has responsibility for enacting national horse racing matters The National Racing Association (now referred to as the NRA) is the body charged with administering horse racing matters on a regional level for the Prefectural Governments and the Municipalities (article 1 paragraph 5 of the HRA).

The horse racing regulatory authority for both the JRA and NAR is the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan (now referred to as the MAFF) (article 25 of the HRA). However the MAFF has granted the responsibility for ensuring that horse racing meetings are properly regulated [including: the registration of horse owners (article 13 of the HRA), horses (article 14 of the HRA), and the licensing of trainers and jockeys, these requirements are stipulated in a MAFF Supplementary Order], on a national level to the JRA and on a regional level to the NAR (article 22 of the HRA). Please note that the NRA was also established to ensure that regional horse racing matters are administered smoothly and fairly, alongside promoting improvements in horse breeding and livestock maintenance (article 23 paragraph 10 of the HRA) (5).

Regarding the sale of horse racing tickets for the JRA, the only parties permitted to do this are the JRA, and also Prefectural Governments and private individuals (article 5 paragraph 1 of the HRA and article 3 paragraph 1 of the HRA [Supplementary Provision]) which are specifically entrusted by the JRA (article 3 paragraph 2 of the HRA).

For NAR horse racing tickets, these can only be sold by parties entrusted by the appropriate regional governing bodies to handle NAR matters (article 21 of the HRA). These bodies include Prefectural Governments, Municipalities, the JRA, the NRA and private individuals (article 22 of the HRA and article 17 bis 3 paragraph 1 of the HRA [Supplementary Provision]).

The amount of winnings returned to successful betters differs according to the administering horse racing institution. Out of the total proceeds gained from ticket sales, the amount the JRA returns to successful betters fluctuates between 73.8 and 82%. The amount of winnings returned by the NAR is 75% of the total ticket sales (6).

Furthermore, both the JRA and NAR are obliged by Japanese income tax law to record the amount of income tax payable from the betters' total winnings, and then inform the relevant tax authorities, who will in turn make the necessary deductions.

Regarding the sale of horse racing tickets, an important issue is tackling illegal sales practices. The organizations directly authorized to sell JRA horse race tickets are the JRA, relevant Prefectural Governments and Municipalities. Further to this, organizations which are entrusted with either the JRA`s or the local public agencies` horse racing administrative powers, can also sell tickets. In fact there are strict penalties, with up to 5 years in prison and/or a maximum fine of 5,000,000 yen (article 30 paragraph 1 of the HRA) for any other unauthorized bodies who illegally sell counterfeit horse race tickets (article 1 paragraph 6 of the HRA).

In 2004 Japanese horse racing law was revised, when placing bets by telephone or the over internet was authorized. Currently, only people aged 20 years or over, including students, can purchase or assign horse race tickets (article 28 of the HRA). There are also five different ways in which a bet can be wagered: single win; place and show; quinella/forecast bet; quinella/forecast bet with a place and show bet; and a bet across multiple races at the same meeting, in any of the prior mentioned four formats (article 5 of the HRA). Bets can be placed either at the race course, at specialist betting shops (article 2 [Supplementary Provision] and article 17 bis 3 of the HRA), by phone or over the internet.

However, the law recognizes that horse racing has a certain social responsibility to uphold, in managing its practices and preventing the illegal sale and assignment of horse racing tickets (article 29 of the HRA). Consequently, anybody found to have acted in direct contravention of the law, or through using (or conspiring) to use other illegal methods to purchase tickets, will, dependent upon the severity of the offence, be subject to a fine or/and imprisonment (articles 30 to 34 [inclusive] of the HRA).

Additionally, it is a matter of public interest when it comes to deciding for what purpose the betting returns of the horse racing industry are to be utilized. Saying that, in the case of the JRA, there is nothing laid out in law for specifying the manner in which these funds should be used. Nevertheless in the case of the NAR, it is defined how the particular regional administration body uses the revenue at their disposal (article 23 paragraph 9 of the HRA) (7). Certain policies and issues often cited for support include: promoting improvements in horse breeding and livestock maintenance; advancing social welfare; upgrading medical care; developing education and culture; promoting sport; and creating more effective natural disaster recovery services.

Keirin (Bike Racing)

The law governing keirin in Japan is the Bicycle Racing Act 1948 (BRA) (Showa Period 23rd year, law number 209).

As stipulated in keirin law, the institutions charged with controlling keirin matters are the Prefectural Governments and Municipalities decided by the Home Affairs Minister. Prior to making such decisions the Minister will take into account specific regional economic and population issues. Furthermore, these authorities which want to hold keirin meetings should, if they can, try to fulfill various objectives, including advancing improvements in bicycle (and other machine) technology and rationalising related manufacturing industries. Alongside this, the authorities should also promote physical education and other projects which will benefit society and regional economies (article 1 paragraph 1 of the BRA).

The keirin regulatory authority is the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (from now referred to as the METI) (article 50 of the BRA). However the METI has granted the JKA (an incorporated foundation) responsibility for ensuring that keirin meetings are properly regulated (8). The JKA's duties are to make sure the riders, referees and various types of bikes are registered, licensed and meet the specific standards required for racing (these requirements are stipulated in a METI Supplementary Order). (Please note that the JKA will be covered in the next chapter, along with motorbike racing).

Regarding the sale of keirin tickets, an important issue is tackling illegal sales practices. Therefore, only parties entrusted with the keirin administration authorities' powers (article 3 of the BRA) are approved for this purpose (article 8 of the BRA). These authorized parties comprise regional public agencies, the Japan Association of Bike Racing and private individuals.

In fact there are strict penalties, with up to 5 years in prison and/or a maximum fine of 5,000,000 yen (article 56 paragraph 1 of the BRA) for any other unauthorized bodies who illegally sell counterfeit keirin tickets (article 1 paragraph 5 of the BRA)

In 2007 Japanese keirin law was revised, when placing bets by telephone or the over internet was authorized. Currently, only people aged 20 years or over, including students, can purchase or assign keirin tickets (article 9 of the BRA). There are also five different ways in which a bet can be wagered: single win; place and show; quinella/forecast bet; quinella/forecast bet with a place and show bet; and a bet across multiple races at the same meeting, in any of the prior mentioned four formats (article 11 of the BRA). Bets can be placed either at the race arena, at specialist betting shops (article 5 of the BRA), by phone or over the internet.

The amount of winnings returned to successful betters by the keirin administration authorities, out of the total proceeds gained from ticket sales, is 75% (9). Furthermore, these authorities are obliged by Japanese income tax law to record the amount of income tax payable from the betters' total winnings, and then inform the relevant tax authorities, who will in turn make the necessary deductions.

In February 2008 the Hiratsuka Keirin Arena introduced a new kind of betting ticket called "Chariloto". an interesting point to note in relation to "Chariloto", is that the total amount of prize money, following a carry over, was 1.2 billion yen, the largest amount ever seen in Japanese public run gambling history (10).

However, the law recognizes that keirin has a certain social responsibility to uphold, in managing its practices and preventing the illegal sale and assignment of keirin tickets (article 10 of the BRA). Consequently, anybody found to have acted in direct contravention of the law, or through using (or conspiring) to use other illegal methods to purchase tickets, will, dependent upon the severity of the offence, be subject to imprisonment or a criminal fine (articles 56-69 [inclusive] of the BRA).

Additionally, it is a matter of public interest when it comes to deciding for what purpose the betting returns of the keirin industry are to be utilized. The appropriate keirin administration authority can decide on how best to use the revenue at their disposal (article 22 BRA). Policies and issues often cited for support include: advancing technical innovation in bicycles (and other machines); rationalising manufacturing industries; advancing social welfare; upgrading medical care; developing education and culture; and promoting physical education and other programs beneficial to society.

On top of that, it is stipulated in keirin law, that after every race meeting the JKA must receive a set subsidy from the relevant keirin administration authority. a certain percentage of this subsidy is to be applied in funding projects for the advancement of the public good (article 24 paragraph 6 of the BRA), and should not be utilized for anything other than those purposes (article 29 paragraph 2 of the BRA).

Motorbike Racing

The law governing motorbike racing in Japan is the Motorbike Racing Act 1950 (MRA) (Showa Period 25TH year, law number 208).

In motorbike racing law, the Diet is responsible for deciding, by resolution, the authorities charged with administering motorbike racing matters. These institutions: are the Prefectural Governments, Osaka City; Kyoto City; Yokohama City; Nagoya City; Kobe City; each of the wards of Tokyo Metropolis where a relevant association is established; and municipalities where a motorbike racing track is currently in existence (article 3 paragraph 1 of the MRA).

These authorities which want to hold motorbike meetings should, if they can, try to fulfill various objectives, including advancing improvements in motorbike (and other machine) technology and rationalising related manufacturing industries. Alongside this, the authorities should rationalize related manufacturing industries, whilst also promoting physical education and other projects which will benefit society and regional economies (article 1 of the MRA).

The motorbike racing regulatory authority is the METI (article 54 of the MRA). However, as with the keirin system, the METI has granted the JKA responsibility for ensuring motorbike race meetings are properly regulated (article 11 of the MRA) (11). The JKA's duties are to make sure the riders, referees and various types of bikes are registered, licensed and meet the specific standards required for racing (these requirements are stipulated in a METI Supplementary Order).

Regarding the sale of motorbike racing tickets, an important issue is tackling illegal sales practices. Therefore, only parties entrusted with the motorbike racing administration authorities' powers (article 12 of the MRA) are authorized for this purpose (article 5 of the MRA). These authorized parties comprise regional public agencies, the East Japan Association of Motorbike Racing and private individuals. In fact there are strict penalties, with up to 5 years in prison or a maximum fine of 5,000,000 yen (article 61 paragraph 1 of the MRA) for any other unauthorized bodies who illegally sell counterfeit motorbike racing tickets (article 3 paragraph 2 of the MRA) .

In 2007 Japanese motorbike racing law was revised, when placing bets by telephone or the over internet was authorized. Currently, only people aged 20 years or over, including students, can purchase or assign motorbike tickets (article 13 of the MRA). There are also five different ways in which a bet can be wagered: single win; place and show; quinella/forecast bet; quinella/forecast bet with a place and show bet; and a bet across multiple races at the same meeting, in any of the prior mentioned four formats (article 15 of the MRA). Bets can be placed either at the race arena, at specialist betting shops (article 8 of the MRA), by phone or over the internet.

The amount of winnings returned to successful betters by the motorbike racing administration authorities, out of the total proceeds gained from ticket sales, is 75% (12). Furthermore, these authorities are obliged by Japanese income tax law to record the amount of income tax payable from the gambler's total winnings, and then inform the relevant tax authorities, who will in turn make the necessary deductions.

However, the law recognizes that motorbike racing has a certain social responsibility to uphold, in managing its practices and preventing the illegal sale and assignment of motorbike racing tickets (article 14 of the MRA). Consequently, anybody found to have acted in direct contravention of the law, or through using (or conspiring) to use other illegal methods to purchase tickets, will, dependent upon the severity of the offence, be subject to imprisonment or a criminal fine (articles 61-74 [inclusive] of the MRA).

Additionally, it is a matter of public interest when it comes to deciding for what purpose the betting returns from the motorbike racing industry are utilized. It is defined in law how the appropriate motorbike administration authority must use the revenue at their disposal (article 26 MRA). Policies and issues often cited for support include: advancing technical innovation in motorbikes (and other related machines); rationalizing related manufacturing industries; advancing social welfare; upgrading medical care; developing education and culture; and promoting physical education and other programs beneficial to society.

On top of that, as is also the case with keirin, it is stipulated in motorbike racing law, that after every race meeting the JKA must receive a set subsidy from the relevant motorbike racing administration authority. a certain percentage of this subsidy is to be applied in funding projects for the advancement of the public good and should not be utilized for anything other than these purposes (article 33 paragraph 2 of the MRA).

Motorboat Racing

The law governing motorboat racing in Japan is the Motorboat Racing Act 1951 (MboatRA) (Showa Period 26th year, law number 242).

In motorboat racing law, the Diet is responsible for deciding, by resolution, the authorities charged with administering motorboat racing matters. To this end, the Home Affairs Minister should take account of the special economic and political circumstances of each particular municipality or administrative division (article 2 paragraph 1 of the MboatRA).

The motorboat racing administration authorities should try, if they can, to fulfill various objectives: including advancing improvements in technology for boats, boat engines and related parts; and also the export of such products and expertise. Alongside this, the authorities should: promote manufacturing programs; support projects to prevent accidents at sea and also support marine industry projects; whilst also promoting physical education, tourist activity and other projects which will benefit society and regional economies. There should also be an effort to improve the maritime facilities around Japan's coastline which will, in turn, have a positive effect on tourism (article 1 of the MboatRA).

The motorboat racing regulatory authority is the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (now referred to as the MLIT) (article 57 of the MboatRA). The MLIT has granted the Foundation of Japan Motorboat Racing Association (now referred to as the JMRA) has granted responsibility for ensuring motorboat race meetings are properly regulated (article 7 of the MboatRA) (13). The JMRA's duties are to make sure the referees, drivers and various types of boats and inspectors are registered, licensed and meet the specific standards required for racing.

Regarding the sale of motorboat racing tickets, an important issue is tackling illegal sales practices. Therefore, only parties entrusted with the motorboat racing administration authorities' powers (article 3 of the MboatRA) are authorized for this purpose (article 10 of the MboatRA). These authorized parties comprise regional public agencies, JMRA and private individuals. In fact there are strict penalties, with up to 5 years in prison and/or a maximum fine of 5,000,000 yen (article 65 paragraph 1 of the MboatRA), for any other unauthorized bodies who illegally sell counterfeit motorboat tickets (article 2 paragraph 5 of the MboatRA).

In 2007 Japanese motorboat racing law was revised, when placing bets by telephone or the over internet was authorized. Currently, only people aged 20 years or over, including students, can purchase or assign motorboat racing tickets (article 12 of the MboatRA). There are also five different ways in which a bet can be wagered: single win; place and show; quinella/forecast bet; quinella/forecast bet with a place and show bet; and a bet across multiple races at the same meeting, in any of the prior mentioned four formats (article 5 of the MboatRA). Bets can be made either at the race place, at specialist betting shops (article 8 of the MRA), by phone or over the internet.

The amount of winnings returned to successful betters by the motorboat racing administration authorities, out of the total proceeds gained from ticket sales, is 75% (14). Furthermore, these authorities are obliged by Japanese income tax law to record the amount of income tax payable from the gambler's total winnings, and then inform the relevant tax authorities, who will in turn make the necessary deductions.

However, the law recognizes that motorbike racing has a certain social responsibility to uphold, in managing its practices and preventing the illegal sale and assignment of motorboat tickets (article 11 of the MboatRA). Consequently, anybody found to have acted in direct contravention of the law, or through using (or conspiring) to use other illegal methods to purchase tickets, will, dependent upon the severity of the offence, be subject to imprisonment or a criminal fine (articles 65--78 [inclusive] of the MboatRA).

Additionally, it is a matter of public interest when it comes to deciding for what purpose the betting returns from the motorboat racing industry are utilized. It is stipulated by law how the appropriate motorboat administration authority must use the revenue at their disposal (article 31 MboatRA). Policies and issues often cited for support include: advancing technical innovation in motorboats; rationalizing related manufacturing industries; advancing social welfare; upgrading medical care; developing education and culture; and promoting physical education and other programs beneficial to society.

On top of that, it is stipulated in motorboat racing law, that after every race meeting the JMRA must receive a set subsidy from the relevant motorboat racing administration authority. a certain percentage of this subsidy is to be applied in funding projects for the advancement of the tourist industry and the public good, and should not be utilized for anything other than these purposes (article 33 paragraph 2 of the MboatRA) (15).

The Japanese Lottery

The law governing the lottery and other gambling games in Japan is the "Law on Identification Card Attached to Prize Money 1948" (now referred to as LPMor Lottery Law) (Showa Period 23rd year, law number 242).

The objective of the LPM, is through lottery ticket sales to provide revenue for local government finance funds. In order to achieve this target, the current purchasing power of the public should be monitored, so that lottery ticket sales respond in line with demand in the present market conditions (article 1 of the LPM).

In Lottery Law, the institutions charged with controlling lottery ticket sales are the Prefectural Governments; and self governing cities and specific cities with particular economic or geographic (war damage) requirements (now referred to as the lottery administration authorities) (article 4 paragraph 1 of the LPM). The latter are selected by the Home Affairs Minister.

The authorisation granted to the administration authorities to oversee lottery sales, is for a number of purposes. These include funding public utility improvement schemes and other projects which benefit society. Furthermore, there are cases where it is necessary to set money aside for projects decided by ministerial decree, and also for supporting regional matters which require emergency public management (article 4 paragraph 1 of the LPM).

The lottery regulatory authority is the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communication (now referred to as the MIC) (article 4 paragraph 2 of the LPM). The MIC considers applications made by administrative regions and cities who seek approval to be able to sell lottery tickets. These applicants need to present their plans for how they will use capital raised from lottery sales to fund public projects, in order to receive the necessary MIC approval.

The relevant governors and mayors from the lottery administration authorities (approved by the Home Affairs Minister) may draw up plans for how they intend to deliver the various lottery schemes, looking particularly at establishing sales and payment facilities. In line with government decrees, the authorities must also apply to banks who they will entrust with carrying out lottery related financial matters. These type of duties include: the clerical work of preparing the lottery tickets; selling tickets; and paying out winnings (article 6 of the LPM).

Altogether there are 3 types of lotteries: the general lottery; scratch cards; and the number selection lottery (now referred to as Loto) (16).

Lottery tickets can be bought by various means-at banks entrusted by the administration authorities, at kiosk around the cities, by mail order and also over the internet.

Presently, the highest prize on the General Lottery is 300 hundred million yen. 200 million yen for first prize and 50 million yen each for numbers before and after the first prize. For Loto, ever since the carry over system has been introduced, as Loto 6, the highest prize available is 400 million yen. Please note, and there is no income tax liability on the prize money earned from the Lottery.(article 13 of the LMA).

In Japan, unlike with the above mentioned publicly run sports contests and the below mentioned Toto, there are no age based purchasing restrictions for lottery tickets. Furthermore, people affiliated with the lottery, either directly (e.g. a kiosk seller) or indirectly (e.g. a family member of an employee of a lottery administration authority), can also buy tickets.

Nevertheless, the resale of lottery tickets is prohibited (article 6 paragraph 7 of the LMA). Anybody found in violation of this law, could be subject to up to 10 years imprisonment and/or a maximum penalty of 1 million yen (article 18 paragraph 1 of the LMA). Additionally, any act of selling, purchasing, receiving commissions from and/or dealing in foreign lottery tickets whilst being in Japanese jurisdiction is considered an offence punishable by criminal sanctions under article 187 of the (Basic) Japanese Criminal Law (17).

Following on from what has been discussed above, special Japanese laws recognize and authorize various types of publicly run gambling. The objective of putting each of these public gambling initiatives into effect, is to provide financial support for local public organizations, and also to promote specific industries. It is often said that because Japan was poverty stricken after the Second World War, it introduced publicly run gambling, as a last resort, to stimulate an economic recovery.

However, the introduction of the sixth form of publicly run gambling, soccer betting, is against a completely different economic background for the current generation, with Japan being the world's second strongest economy. In fact this particular initiative has separate objectives and ways for which the funding raised should be utilized. In the next chapter there will be analysis of the legal, economic and management issues surrounding soccer betting in Japan.

Soccer Betting as a Means of Promoting Sport

The law governing soccer betting is the "Act on Sports Promotion Voting 1998" (now referred to as SPV) (Heisei period 10th year, law number 63).

As stipulated by the SPV, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (now referred to as the MEXT) is the regulatory authority for soccer betting. Furthermore, the main objectives of the MEXT under the SPV, are to ensure the necessary funds are raised for sports promotion, and to confirm that any initiative it sets up is effectively administered.

Soccer is the only sport to be utilized for sport promotion betting initiatives under the SPV. To this end the Japan Professional Soccer League (now referred to as the J-League) (article 24 paragraph 1 of the SPV and the Ministry of Education Newsletter number 56) was set up to run various soccer competitions. These comprise the J-League, the J-League Cup and the Emperor's Cup. However, please note that other soccer competitions are excluded from the afore-mentioned initiatives, including the Japan Football League (amateur), local leagues and even foreign soccer leagues.

The sole authority charged with administering sports promotion through betting under the SPV, is the National Association for the Advancement of Sports and Health (now referred to as the NAASH) (article 3 of the SPV).

By order of MEXT, NAASH will select certain J-League games on which betting can take place. After the game, any better in possession of a winning ticket, in line with the rules stipulated by MEXT, will receive a payout of their relevant winnings (article 2 of the SPV).

Currently there are six soccer betting games in Japan. The first type of game is the Toto series (comprising three games-Toto, Mini Toto and Toto Goal), where you can personally predict the results of matches. The Big series (comprising three games-Big, Big 1000 and Mini Big) is the second type of game, where a computer randomly predicts match results. There is no obligation on NAASH, as the soccer betting administrative authority, to deal with income tax issues (article 16 of the SPV).

The maximum payout for Toto is 200 million yen, which is only possible when a carry over occurs. For Big the maximum payout is 600 million yen, again, this is only possible when there is a carry over.

Soccer betting tickets can be purchased either online, at convenience stores or from specially licensed betting shops. However, as stipulated by article 9 paragraph 10 of the SPV the following parties cannot purchase or receive transfers of soccer betting tickets: people under 19; government officials working in promoting other sports; NAASH staff; J-League members of staff; and all the J-League club employees, representatives, directors, players, J-League match referees and commissioners. Criminal sanctions such as imprisonment or fines (articles 32 and 42 of the SPV) can be imposed on any of the above mentioned parties in breach of the SPV law. Furthermore, people found using (or conspiring to use) systems other than those defined by SPV for acquiring soccer betting tickets, can also be subject to such punishment.

Once the winnings and administration expenses have been deducted from the total amount of revenue received from soccer betting ticket sales, it is divided into three parts for distribution. The first third is utilized to fund the following initiatives: promoting education, sport and culture for the Japanese youth; preserving of the environment; advancing International relations; and maintaining the national treasures of Japan (article 22 of the NAASH) (18).

The remaining two thirds of the revenue are each used mainly to finance sport promotion projects by local authorities or sports organizations through the following projects, or to be used as funds needed for International level sports event hosted by Japan (as stated in the MEXT orders) (article 21 paragraphs 1 and 2 of the SPV).

The projects are as follows:

* to establish an institution (including facilities) as a base to promote sport in the regions;

* to establish an institution as a base to improve the level of competitiveness in sport, both nationally and internationally;

* projects to promote sport at sports lessons, competitions, and other sport events using the institution described in (2); and

* to train new and improve the quality of the current sports coaches

Additionally, the proceeds from the soccer betting initiative can be invested in the "Sports Promotion Fund" established by the Japanese government allocating 25 billion yen in a budgetary measure in 1990 (article 21 paragraph 4 of the SPV). The objective of this fund is to assist the sports organizations in hosting major events, and also to in create world respected athletes and coaches (19).

As analyzed above, from the proceeds of the soccer betting system Japan has set out to accomplish dual objectives. The first is to improve Japan's level of competitiveness in world sport. The second is to promote sport as an essential life habit throughout the nation. at the start of this paper, it was stated that the proceeds of the soccer betting initiative had been falling year upon year. For instance, in 2002 the amount raised for Japanese sport totaled 5.7 billion yen, however in 2007 the figure raised was a mere 80 million yen in comparison. Consequently, this lack of constant funding meant that some sporting projects were inevitably cancelled or cut back. On top of this, various funds for the promotion of sport had to be privately guaranteed (20).

However, in 2008 the soccer betting game, Big, has brought some fresh inspiration to the scheme. By November the amount raised for sporting projects run by the Sport fund has been estimated to be in the region of 850 million yen. It is thought when the figures are calculated in 2009 the total sales proceeds from soccer betting in 2008 will have-reached a historic high of over 90 billion yen (21).

(1) http://www.naash.go.jp/sinko/data.html 2008[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]. Sports Promotion Subsidies and a Consideration Sports Betting Sales http://www.naash.go.jp/sinko/data.html (3 December 2008)

(2) 2004) [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] p.426? [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] Mitsue Kimura, Japanese Criminal Law (2004--3rd volume of the 2nd edition), p.426, Tokyo University Publication

(3) 1991) [[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]] p.479[Tilde]480 an Exposition of Lectures on the Criminal Law (1991 3rd edition--amended), p.479-480, Seibundo

(4) 2007, p.52. Kenji Saito, Sports Promotion (An Introduction to Sports Law--2nd edition--2007), p.52, Fumai Shobou

(5) 2002, 11 [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], p.42 Narayuki Iwashiro, The Current Situation and the Challenges Facing State Run Sports Contests (State Run Sports Gambling) from the Viewpoint of Regional Economies (Reference Magazine--November 2002 edition), p.42.

(6) [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (1977) [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII])-, p.11, [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] The Research Group for the Improvement of State Run Sports Contests in Japan, The Present Situation and Ways to Improve the Running of State Gambling, (1997, 1st volume), p.11, The Research Group for the Improvement of State Run Sports Contests in Japan

(7) [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (2002) [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]. p.38 Narayuki Iwashiro, The Current Situation and the Challenges Facing State Run Sports Contests (State Run Sports Gambling) from the Viewpoint of Regional Economies (Reference Magazine-November 2002 edition), p.38

(8) [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]JKA http://www.keirin-autorace.or.jp/about/index.html [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] about the JKA (Incorporated Foundation) http://www.keirin-autorace.or.jp/about/index.html 6 December 2008

(9) [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (1977) [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]-, p.11, [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] The Research Group for the Improvement of State Run Sports Contests in Japan, The Present Situation and Ways to Improve the Running of State Gambling, (1997, 1st volume), p.11, The Research Group for the Improvement of State Run Sports Contests in Japan.

(10) http://www.chariloto.com/html/charilo-to/Chariloto (Keirin Betting--Chariloto The Official Website) http://www.char-iloto.com/html/chariloto/(6/12/2008)

(11) JKA JKA) http://www.keirin-autorace.or.jp/about/index.html 2008[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] about the JKA (Juridicial Foundation) www.keirin-autorace.or.jp/about/index.html 6 December 2008

(12) [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (1977) [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]-, p.11, [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] The Research Group for the Improvement of State Run Sports Contests in Japan, The Present Situation and Ways to Improve the Running of State Gambling, (1997, 1st volume), p.11, The Research Group for the Improvement of State Run Sports Contests in Japan

(13) [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] http://mbkyosokai.jp/company/index.html (2008[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] Summary of the Foundation of the Japan Motorboat Racing Association http://mbkyosokai.jp/company/index.html (6 December 2008)

(14) [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (1977) [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]-, p.11, [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] The Research Group for the Improvement of State Run Sports Contests in Japan, The Present Situation and Ways to Improve the Running of State Gambling, (1997, 1st volume), p.11, The Research Group for the Improvement of State Run Sports Contests in Japan

(15) [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (2002) [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] p.43 Narayuki Iwashiro, The Current Situation and the Challenges Facing State Run Sports Contests (State Run Sports Gambling) from the Viewpoint of Regional Economies (Reference Magazine-November 2002 edition), p.43

(16) [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] http://www.jla-takarakuji.or.jp/now1.html# [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] The Lottery is Now (Foundation of the Japanese Lottery Association) http://www.jla-takarakuji.or.jp/now1.html#5 (3 December 2008)

(17) [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] http://www.jla-takarakuji.or.jp/trou-ble.html [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] Trouble with the Lottery (Foundation of the Japanese Lottery Association) http://www.jla-takarakuji.or.jp/trouble.html (3 December 2008)

(18) http://www.naash.go.jp/toto/what.html 2008[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]12 4 The Purpose for which the Proceeds of Sports Promotion Betting are Used (National Agency for the Advancement of Sport and Health) http://www.naash.go.jp/toto/what.html (4 December 2008)

(19) http://www.naash.go.jp/sinko/kikin/gaiyou.htmltoto/what.html 2008[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] a Summary of the Activites that were given Sports Promotion Grants (National Agency for the Advancement of Sport and Health) sinko/kikin/gaiyou.html (4 December 2008)

(20) http://www.mext.go.jp/b_menu/shingi/chukyo/chukyo5/gijiroku/002/08110404/001.htm 2008[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] The Debate on the Way the Proceeds from Sports Promotion Betting Ought to be Given as Grants/Support (15th MEXT Special Sports Betting Promotion Conference on Distributing Sports Promotion Betting Resources/Funds)

(21) www.mext.go.jp/b_menu/shingi/chukyo/chukyo/chukyo5/gijiroku/002/08110404/001.htm (5 December 2008) 21 chukyo5/gijiroku/002/08110403/001.pdf 2008[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] The Movement/Variation in Sports Promotion Betting Grants (14th MEXT Special Sports Betting Promotion Conference on Distributing Sports Promotion Betting Resources/Funds) chukyo/chukyo5/gijiroku/002/08110403/001.pdf (5 December 2008)

by Takuya Yamazaki and Yuki Mabuchi *

* Field-R Law Offices, Tokyo, Japan.Takuya Yamazaki is a players' agent licensed by Japan Football Association (JFA and member of Japan Sports Arbitration Agency (JSAA). HE teaches Sports Law at Chuo and Waseda Universities.
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Title Annotation:ARTICLES
Author:Yamazaki, Takuya; Mabuchi, Yuki
Publication:The International Sports Law Journal
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:9JAPA
Date:Jan 1, 2009
Words:7166
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