Japanese group publishes guidelines for blockchain iGaming

Gambling in Japan is still a tricky thing to do. Integrated Resorts look like they’re years away, and learning how to play pachinko isn’t for everyone. Many small time operators have turned to blockchain technology to offer new ways to gamble, but that offers no escape from the law.

To help those operators abide by local Japanese laws, the Blockchain Contents Association (BCA) have released guidelines to help them keep their hands clean. The Japanese self-regulatory organization, first established in February 2020, hopes to keep customers safe by promoting law abiding blockchain gaming.

These guidelines, if followed diligently, can help blockchain gambling sites follow the Law for Preventing Unjustifiable Extra or Unexpected Benefit and Misleading Representation, the Payment Services Act, and the Financial Instruments and Exchange Act.

One guideline is to avoid gacha mechanics. Popular in mobile games, and particularly in Japan, the BCA recommends against using non-fungible tokens that can only be obtained by spending real world money. That kind of bait-and-switch is likely to be found illegal in Japanese courts.

Hironao Kunimitsu, president of the BCA, noted that his organization’s primary goal is to keep the Japanese blockchain industry in line with the law. “Through the new guidelines, we aim to help our users use content with peace of mind and contribute to the healthy development of the blockchain contents industry in Japan,” he said.

The BCA already consists of 10 members, and will likely add more. It currently is made up of firms like Hakuhodo, advertisers, public relations firms, Startbahn, the developer of My Crypto Heroes double jump.tokyo, and Kunimitsu’s own company, gumi.

While these helpful guidelines could keep a few blockchain gambling operators from breaking the law, they’ll also help protect gambling’s future in Japan long term. As casino operators start investing billions to develop integrated resorts and casinos, the last thing they need are dozens of blockchain sites using, illegal mechanics, grabbing headlines and putting the industry’s future in doubt. By keeping everything within the law, everybody will come out much better in the end.

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