The first case of a casino being exposed in Japan…Danger of “online casinos” flourishing due to influx of funds from overseas. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

The first case of a casino being exposed in Japan…Danger of “online casinos” flourishing due to influx of funds from overseas.

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Online casinos are flourishing. A closer look behind the scenes (Photo is for reference only)

The Nikkei Stock Average has surpassed its bubble period and reached an all-time high in Japan. While the unprecedented depreciation of the yen has led to a concentration of foreign demand in Japanese equities, there is something else that is attracting attention as well. In fact, there is a large influx of foreign capital into Japan’s underground world as well.

The best example is online casinos. Many online casinos are seen with advertisements, websites, and stores that make it seem as if they are legitimate. However, when playing in Japan, it is completely illegal to deposit or exchange money for cash in any way. Recently, seven men and women in their 20s to 40s were arrested by the Kyoto Prefectural Police and other authorities on February 19 on suspicion of illegal operation of online casinos.

The arrests may come as a surprise, but this is the first case of its kind in Japan against an online casino operator. Arrested were Randal Aaron Asher, 36, a company employee in Chiba Prefecture and a U.S. citizen, and six Japanese men and women. From March to December last year, they operated an online casino site for Japanese players on an overseas server. They allegedly allowed their customers to play Mahjong. Terrifyingly, they explained to their customers that they were licensed and that there was nothing illegal about it. So far, they have received approximately 2.3 billion yen from customers,” said a reporter from a national newspaper.

One of the reasons why crimes using online casinos continue to occur is the low level of awareness among the general public.

In order to distract users from the illegality of online casinos, operators use a variety of methods. The “claiming to be licensed” mentioned in the previous case is another common tactic. Other examples include the following: ・Using influencers.

Using influencers to remove resistance to playing in online casinos.

Ask well-known poker players to bring customers to the casinos.

Conduct recruiting activities at large national poker tournaments, amusement poker parlors, and other legitimate venues.

Young people who tend to admire the glittering lives of influencers and others, as well as the elderly who do not have high Internet literacy, are easily deceived by superficial information. Therefore, if a celebrity announces a casino or solicits customers at a legitimate amusement facility, they can be easily fooled.

In fact, there is something that is currently attracting a great deal of attention in the underground casino world. A player who won a real poker tournament in Las Vegas last year is suspected of pimping his customers to online casinos. It is alleged that he was receiving a portion of the profits from the customers, and is suspected of being a habitual gambler. Although he has not yet been arrested, the victim has already filed a criminal complaint, which was accepted by the Urawa Police Department (Saitama) at the end of January this year. Therefore, many people concerned are paying attention to the trend as a precedent for the future. There are many other cases that are being litigated, and there are many pitfalls that are truly close at hand.

In the author’s experience, the number of online casino users has increased up to tenfold due to the entry of foreign operators as a result of the depreciation of the yen. Despite being illegal, online casinos will continue to be prevalent in the future without much progress in their recognition. The ease with which anyone can play online casinos at any time with a single smartphone, just like a game app, and the status quo of celebrities and influencers who also play online casinos will also help fuel this craze.

In addition to online casinos, illegal activities such as drugs and fraud are also beginning to trick young people into believing that they are legal. Of course, it is thought that foreign capital is also coming into these underground areas.

The pernicious fact is that there are no concrete countermeasures against these activities. I would like people to know what is good and what is bad, and to have their own borders correctly. If you don’t stop for a moment when you hear a suspicious story, …… you could be involved in a crime without even knowing it.

  • Interview and text by Takayuki Urushihara

    Takayuki Urushibara specializes in underground reporting. He is the author of the TV drama "Black Crowes" (Fuji TV) and the original story and supervisor of the manga of the same title, etc. X (former Twitter) → @shibuyoru_tm. He currently manages "Hiding Place Bar Win Aoyama.

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