Groups supporting people who have become addicted to online gambling are calling on the Japanese government to tighten regulations for overseas operators.
The four groups told reporters last week that online casinos allow people to make money quickly and they can be accessed around the clock.
They said that's why people are highly likely to get hooked on such casinos, and more of them are contacting the groups for consultations.
Japan's penal code bans gambling in the country. But Japanese laws and regulations do not cover online casinos because the operators are based in other parts of the world where gambling is legal.
A request submitted by the groups to the Japanese government calls for legal revisions to hold online casino operators criminally responsible if they allow people in Japan to gamble. The request also includes making such casinos inaccessible from the country.
The groups also want the government to raise public awareness that gambling at online casinos is a criminal offense in Japan.
An official of one of the groups says more people may be turning to online casinos because of the excitement they provide. She says they can also forget about their problems amid the growing social uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The official says regulation of such casinos is urgently needed to curb gambling addiction.