The Japanese government has denied reports suggesting it may consider easing sports betting restrictions in order to allow betting on a wider variety of sports.
According to a report by The Yomiuri Shimbun this week, Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has compiled a draft proposal for allowing betting on sports such as football, basketball and baseball. At present, sports betting is restricted to horse racing, cycling, motorboat racing and motorcycling.
It was also reported that Japan’s Sports Development Council could meet for the first time in five years in July, however, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno told reporters that he does not expect any such proposal to be implemented.
“Currently, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry is holding a study group on sports, but it has also been reported that there is no plan to present a proposal to lift the ban on sports betting at any of the study groups,” he said.
“I refrain from commenting on hypothetical questions while this is not being done.”
Matsuno’s comments mirror those from the Minister of Economy, Trade, and Industry himself, Hagiuda Koichi, who denied the reports at a press conference earlier this week.
Opponents of the proposal have expressed concerns over the potential for a broader sports betting industry to lead to problem gambling issues.