A nonprofit organization said that the COVID-19 pandemic created a wave and spread of online gambling. Young gambling addicts are now at risk of committing crimes to pay off their debts.

The Society Concerned about Gambling Addiction is calling on the government to immediately tighten regulations on online gambling.
According to the NPO, the number of consultations about young online gambling addicts has spiked. This occurred since online The organization warned that the bar has been lowered. The number of young gambling addicts is only expected to rise in the years ahead.
In principle, Japan bans all forms of gambling. This includes casino games, except for government-managed betting on four types of races. These are horses, bicycles, motorcycles and motorboats.
Even if the platforms are legal in their countries, it is also illegal for people in Japan to gamble via online casino sites operated overseas.
As any regular player knows, there are ways to get around the regulations.
The society provides assistance to gambling addicts and their relatives. In March, they released the results of its study earlier than scheduled. This decision came after a high-profile gambling addiction case controlled news headlines.
Ippei Mizuhara, a former interpreter for major league baseball star Shohei Ohtani, faces charges of bank fraud. He unlawfully transferred $1.6 million or 252.7 million yen from Ohtani’s bank account. This was to pay off gambling debts to an illegal bookmaker.
Head of the society, Noriko Tanaka said that similar incidents on a smaller scale are occurring more frequently in Japan than before.
In 2023, the survey is based on 479 cases. These involve online gambling addicts or their relatives who attended counseling sessions with the society.
A year before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, 78 percent of these cases involved addicts in their 20s and 30s. This was up by 14 percentage points from 2019.