Despite public anxieties over the establishment of IRs in the next decade, and what that might mean for issues such as gambling addiction, Japan already has a well-established series of racing industries with parimutuel betting that pulls in betting revenues of over $47 billion, according to 2017 figures.
Horse racing alone gathers revenues of over $30 billion, with the remaining shares going to motorboat racing, bicycle racing, and motorcycle racing.
The giant among these various enterprises is the Japan Racing Association (JRA), with its advertisements widely visible in major urban areas. The JRA’s annual revenues are about $25 billion, of which about 75 percent are returned to the betting pool and 25 percent retained for operations, taxation, and other items.
JRA operates ten major horse racing tracks across the nation as well as a number of supporting facilities.
Over 96 percent of the JRA betting handle is now done via internet, telephone, or at one of the 40+ special off-track betting facilities called WINS.
It remains unclear if Japan’s racing industries will tie up with the emerging IRs, perhaps in terms of locating new off-track betting facilities or on other matters.
At any rate, all estimates of the likely size of the IR market in the Japan of the 2020s put it at a significantly smaller level than of even JRA alone.