The esports market scale in Japan

It is said that esports culture is not yet popular in Japan, but how big is the difference from overseas esports in developed countries?

Competition's prize

Overseas, there are competitions in which the total prize amount exceeds three million dollars, and the scale has become quite large.
However, in Japan, it is difficult to hold a large tournament like they do overseas.
Regulation by the government is one of the causes.


Under the Criminal Code, people are not allowed to bet or gamble money on any kind of game or tournament that involves soprts where the results are winning or losing.
People are also not allowed to collect money from people and distribute it to the winners of the game competition.
It is not banned to hold gaming competitions without taking the participation fee.

Act on Control and Improvement of Amusement Business is subject to game centers.
This rule applies to gaming events as well as using gaming machines and other means of receiving a message.
When this law is applied, it is forbidden to provide prizes to participants who win and defeat the game.
There may be an exception that businesses other than the organizer, such as sponsors or offer prizes.
If the organizer is not subject to the Moral Business Law, this regulation does not apply.

In Act against Unjustifiable Premiums and Misleading Representations, the maximum amount is set for the prize so that premiums that are too expensive for products or services cannot be attached.
This law applies when you give prizes at paid events or with merchandise.
When the transaction price is less than 5,000 yen, it is 20 times the transaction price.
And when the transaction price is 5,000 yen or more, the limit is 100,000 yen.
When holding with multiple businesses, the maximum amount is up to 300,000 yen.

The purpose of the premium labeling law is to regulate acts that are unfair sales promotions.
However, since there are many complicated gaming systems, there are many cases where it is unclear whether they will lead to promotions.
Therefore, there are many unclear points as to whether holding gaming competitions is within the application of the premium labeling law.
In 2016, the Consumer Agency responded in a statement that esports prize money tournaments, which have game organizers and cash prize money, conflict with this law.
We believe that this is one of the factors that makes it difficult to increase the size of the event.

In order to disseminate esports in Japan, it is necessary to have clear standards on the scope of these laws, especially the last one.
In addition, organizations that manage tournaments should also reveal the operational form of the prize money system etc. to the public.
In some cases it may be necessary to relax law regulations.