Japan appears to be stepping up efforts to crack down on online gambling after two men were arrested for “assisting habitual gambling” via their work with a payment systems company.
Tokyo media outlet Yomiuri Shimbun reports that the arrested men include a businessman accused of orchestrating payments to and from overseas online casinos by 42,000 customers in Japan, and another said to have developed the software involved.
The Metropolitan Police Department alleged that between July 2021 and July 2022, the men processed deposits totalling JPY 50 billion (US$335 million) from local customers, for which they received JPY 2.1 billion (US$14.1 million) in fees from the casino operators.
The charges claim the company acted as a proxy for these online casinos by connecting them to customers and facilitating gambling activities. Police allege these services constitute the crime of aiding and abetting habitual gambling.
According to Yomiuri Shimbun, the arrest of an online casino payment processor is said to be unusual.
Another five men and women aged between 31 and 53 have been referred to the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office on the same charges.