September 28, 2023 2 min read


Japanese Authorities Apprehend Two Online Gambling Facilitators

The arrests come as part of an effort to combat the rise in online gambling addiction and associated debt issues in Japan, a problem exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic

Japanese authorities have apprehended two individuals accused of facilitating illegal online gambling activities, marking the country’s first arrests of settlement agents involved in such operations. Yoshiaki Maeda and Shinya Tokita, both aged 42, face charges related to their alleged role in aiding habitual gambling among Japanese customers of overseas online casinos. 

The suspects are believed to have operated as intermediaries, orchestrating the transfer of funds on behalf of 18 Japanese customers between July 2021 and July 2022, reported The Japanese Times. Their illicit activities involved using an online payment service they established around 2020 to send money from Japan to three specific online casinos, allowing customers to discreetly place bets via mobile devices while evading law enforcement scrutiny.

Authorities estimate that Maeda and Tokita managed deposits totaling hundreds of millions of dollars, earning more than $14 million in commissions from the casinos before shutting down their operation in July 2022. The extensive customer data of around 42,000 names is now part of the ongoing investigation.

While the suspects have been arrested, it remains uncertain whether prosecutors have formally charged them. According to Japan’s laws, they could face a prison sentence of up to five years if convicted.

Japan’s Battle Against Online Gambling Grows Stronger with Rewards and Reporting System

The arrest of the settlement agents reflects Japan’s increasing efforts to crack down on all forms of illegal gambling. Despite lobbying from some quarters for the legalization of online gambling, Japan has emphasized its strict stance on such activities, with few exceptions allowed.

Moreover, Japan is strengthening its fight against illegal online gambling with the expansion of its national anonymous crime reporting system, scheduled to take effect on October 1. Japan’s National Police Agency (NPA) increased rewards for anonymous crime reporting, with the current 100,000 yen ($680) set to rise to 1 million yen ($6,800) starting from October 1, 2023.

The increased rewards are applicable to those reporting crimes that result in the dismantling of illegal organizations, including illegal gambling, drugs, human trafficking, and prostitution. In the past year, over 27,000 tips were filed, leading to 45 arrests and payouts of 530,000 yen ($3,600) to informants, primarily related to drug-related offenses. The NPA aims to combat various criminal activities, including “dark jobs” like robberies and child prostitution, with the help of these tips, which can be submitted online or by phone.


Silvia has dabbled in all sorts of writing – from content writing for social media to movie scripts. She has a Bachelor's in Screenwriting and experience in marketing and producing documentary films. With her background as a customer support agent within the gambling industry, she brings valuable insight to the Gambling News writers’ team.

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