Great Bets

Helping You Find Your Next Bet

Japanese Government Confirms Plans to Scrap Tax on Casino Winnings for International Visitors

Central TokyoFor online casino gamers wanting to spread their wings into the land-based casino environment, there was good news emanating from Japan just recently.

It has been confirmed by the government there that taxes on casino winnings will be scrapped for international players – so what you win at the roulette or the blackjack table will be yours to keep.

As you might expect, the move has been designed to boost revenue from tourism when it is safe to travel to the country, with a number of new casinos reportedly in the planning stage.

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) has confirmed that all non-residents can take home their casino winnings in full – reneging on the proposed ‘withholding tax’ that had been discussed by party members.

It’s an essential step as the Asian country ploughs on with plans to create a number of resort-led environments to rival those of neighbouring Macau. Casino developments will be legal in Tokyo, Osaka and Yokohama, with operators having to successfully apply for a license as part of the ‘Request for Proposal’ (RFP) process before they are allowed to start their build.

The likes of MGM, Las Vegas Sands and Wynn Resorts have all said to have declared their interest, and the Casino Administration Committee was established in 2020 to supervise licensed operators and to approve or reject licence applications.

However, the whole thing has been hit by that most major of stumbling blocks: the coronavirus pandemic. The Japanese government decided to postpone the RFP process for the foreseeable future, although plans for the three integrated resorts – which will include hotels, conference and dining facilities and largescale gambling rooms – will reconvene in 2021.

While tourist revenue is the key driver, Japan is also home to a notable ‘black market’ of gambling led by the various Yakuza syndicates, who run their own gaming tables and act as debt collectors for other backstreet ‘casinos’ whose players default on their payments.

In Which Countries Do You Have to Pay a Casino Tax?

Casino Chip Stacks on Poker Table

The rules regarding paying tax on your casino winnings differ from country to country, although a very general rule of thumb is that if gambling is NOT your main source of income then you won’t be taxed on your net wins.

However, there are exceptions. Japan was one of them until recently, while in the USA you must declare your gambling winnings to the IRS regardless of which country you reside in. If you are a professional gambler, then you would submit your tax return in the normal way and pay as required.

As far as operators are concerned, the aggregable tax environment is just one of the reasons why Japan is on the radar for many Las Vegas based operators to expand into. Russia, if it was more of a tourist friendly country, would almost certainly be on the shortlist too given that casino firms there pay 0% tax on gross gambling revenue!

Other notably tax-friendly countries for casino operators include Finland (10% tax on GGR), Belgium (11%), Argentina (15%) and Sweden (18%).