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Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Covid hit prompts Japan to rethink rules on sports gambling

Japan’s government has begun internal discussions to legalise gambling on football and baseball in a move that would create a combined sports betting market estimated at more than $65bn a year.

The secret discussions, which were described to the Financial Times by two people with direct knowledge of the situation, means that betting on Nippon Professional League baseball could be deregulated as soon as 2024.

Fuller deregulation of betting on football’s top-tier J-League, which is already partially legalised through a pools-style lottery system, could come in the same year.

The discussions break a longstanding taboo against opening up opportunities for the Japanese public to bet freely on the nation’s two most popular sports.

While political sensitivity around sports betting remains high, people familiar with the talks said that resistance to the idea had been significantly lowered by Covid-19 and the economic damage it had caused to professional sport.

In the first six months of 2020, the Japanese professional sports industry suffered a loss of $2.5bn owing to the cancellation of games and absence of spectators, according to an estimate by Kansai University.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 27, 2021 at 11:53 PM | 0 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: gambling, japanese baseball

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