Sports betting is a practice aimed at making money on a sporting event by betting on a score, a team, a player or a vehicle. By this description, it is sort of a gambling game, something that was strictly prohibited in many countries like Japan. However, with the successive enactment of various laws in the country, gambling like sports betting is widely tolerated to the detriment of other games of chance. As such, what are the activities to bet in the context of sports betting in Japan?

Boat races


Kyotei (競 艇) is a boat race in which six boats compete against each other led by a pilot. The stake is simple: the first boat to arrive will have won. Thus, the race begins with the engaged start. The boats must reach the finish line as quickly as possible or risk being eliminated. The teams then embark on three laps of a 600m circuit.

Existing since the 1950s, this part is not just simple entertainment. It is also a betting object whose tickets or funaken are distributed to punters. Bets must be a minimum of 1000 Yen. A color is assigned to each of the six competing boats.

Likewise, spectators have the choice between three types of ticket: betting on the three boats out of order (sarenpuku), betting on the first three in order (sanrentan), betting on a single boat (tanshô). The money raised from the sale of tickets will be divided among the winners of the bets.

With the growing popularity of the business, computer scientists have come up with parts of Kyotei online. The goal and the rules of the game are the same as on the field. Thus, “spectators” can bet from anywhere using their computers, smartphones or tablets. Also, this online boat race is available on Japanese betting sites (ブ ッ ク メ ー カ ー).


Like the Kyotei, the Heiwajima (平和 島 競 艇 場) is a race in which more than six boats compete, each led by a pilot. The stake is the same as that of Kyotei: each boat must reach the finish line within a period of time at the risk of being eliminated.

Taking place exclusively in Tokyo and at any time of the evening, the race may be held in near darkness. Thus, competitors are allowed to use personal items such as the spark plug. In addition, it happens that one of the competing boats is assigned a rather special engine. Which is a further challenge as the rider may never have used this kind of engine before and will have a hard time maneuvering it.

Although bets are permitted on this nautical activity, there are no specific betting tickets. Spectators organize bets among themselves. Thus, the sums won or lost are not the responsibility of the race officials but only the spectators. Unlike the Kyotei race, the Heiwajima part is not yet available online.

Horse races

The Keiba Game

The Keiba Game is an equestrian game simulator available only in an arcade machine. In addition, this game is one of the few online gambling games authorized in Japan alongside the Pachinko which is a slot machine, the Mah -jong and the pusher game. It is in a way the virtual counterpart of the PMU.

To play, simply insert a game into the machine and activate the virtual race. Then we put on a horse. And it is depending on the turn of the race that the bettor can win or lose. Unlike other indoor games, the Keiba game is not available online or at least on a tablet, computer or smartphone.

In this case, the interested party will have to travel to perform some parts. And again, one must meticulously inquire about the location. Indeed, arcades containing Keiba game do not boast on websites or other advertising sites. They know each other from word to ear.

Horse betting on the field

Horse betting is one of the most popular gambling games in Japan. Since the launch of equestrian activities in 1905 in Japan, Keiba (競 馬) is still commonplace. Moreover, many Japanese rely heavily on this equestrian game. Whether individuals, professionals or businessmen.

Such a phenomenon shows that Japan is one of the rare countries to earn more than astronomical sums from horse-racing activities. With the performance of players, the quality of the horses as well as the local racetracks, the Japanese rarely bet on international horse activities.

They prefer to win at the national horse games. This is why the PMU is not very important in the country. At present, Japan has about thirty racetracks. However, local players plan to increase this number given the dynamic participation of Japanese in equestrian games as well as their sulphurous passions for horse betting.

Likewise, an organization of horse racing punters was set up a few years ago. It is called JRA (日本 中央 競 馬 会) and has more than 10,000,000 followers. The largest equestrian association in the world.

Bicycle races

The bicycle race in Japan is known as Keirin (競 輪). It is a part of cycling that saw the light of day after the Second World War. This competition involves six cyclists who compete to reach first place and reach the finish line. The stake of this race is simple, a moped is placed in front while the six participants are placed behind well aligned vertically.

At the start of the race, competitors must ride slowly and not overtake the moped. As the moped moves forward and leaves some distance behind it, candidates may overtake each other but must not overtake the moped under any circumstances or risk being disqualified. The race is at its height when the moped moves forward quickly leaving behind several meters of distance, allowing the contestants to accelerate and outdo each other to win the first place.

Regardless of row rotation and race intensity, riders should always stay in a vertical line and never forget to stay behind the main “race leader” which is the moped. From these descriptions, the Keirin is quite a special bicycle race. Moreover, it is a fairly complex practice because it requires both skill, self-control and above all flexibility.

Compared to the classic bike race, the Keirin is quite a complex practice. Indeed, it takes a lot of flexibility to combine the need to win at all costs and compliance with instructions. It is no wonder that Keirin training institutions are opened in Japan. Such a practice cannot be improvised and the selected candidates have followed rigorous and intense training for several years before landing on the race track and getting on their bikes.

The bets on this race are therefore very intense and appreciated by the Japanese.

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