What Does 1X2 Mean in Sports Betting?

When we think about sports betting, often we think about the traditional sports – like football, basketball or baseball. But, there is a world of wagering outside the world of sports. If you are new to the world of sports betting, you may be wondering what other options are out there.

Take the case of 1×2 betting. When you place a 1×2 bet, you are placing a wager that the number of a baseball game will be exactly 2 runs either way. You are not betting on which team will win the game as much as you are betting on whether or not the game will end in a tie. While you might assume that this is a game played only in India and parts of the Middle East, you would be surprised to learn that 1×2 betting has become quite popular in Japan. In fact, 1×2 is the fifth most popular betting option in that country.

Why is 1×2 so popular in Japan? Well, traditionally, the Japanese find it difficult to bet on sports. There is no legal way to place wagers on Japanese sporting events. But all that changed in 2018 when the country’s parliament passed legislation which allowed for sports wagering. Now, it’s possible to place bets on soccer, tennis, volleyball, basketball and more.

While the traditionalists may be put off by this new-fangled trend, it is clear that the 1×2 option is now available to everyone.

All You Need To Know About Sports Betting In Asia

If you are considering placing a bet on sports, especially in a country like Japan where it is legal, then it is important to learn a little about the region. Here are a few things you should know about Asian gambling.


Depending on which country you are in, you will see the oddball terminology used to describe sports betting. In Japan, for example, you might see bookmakers refer to a wager as an ‘urukai’ (which roughly translates to ‘one-strike’ or ‘pick-a-ball’ bet). When referring to the baseball game itself, people in that country typically use the English terms ‘game’ or ‘event’ rather than the Japanese words ‘meiwa’ or ‘shogi’ (baseball is called ‘hokkaido-jūhō’ in Japanese).


You might be surprised to learn that the first recorded instance of a sports betting occurred back in 1881. That was the same year that the International Football Association (now known as the ‘FIFA’ International Federation of Association Football) was formed. Coincidence? Perhaps. But maybe not. The modern era of sports betting really got its start at that point. Interestingly, the first recorded instance of a wager placed on a sporting event came in the form of a horse race. The bookmaker William Brooks placed a wager on the result of the 1881 renewal of the New York Stakes. The New York Stakes was a prestigious horse race which took place at the time in New York City. On May 11th, 1881, Brooks’ wager came up 5/4 on the nose. Not bad for an ‘old man’s bet’ if you know what I mean. (The New York Stakes was originally called the ‘Suburban Handicap’ for that reason).

Where Can I Bet?

Countries like Japan have made it possible for anyone to place bets on any sporting event, anywhere in the world. But that doesn’t mean that all bets are accepted everywhere. Certainty.

Most countries have embraced the concept of legal sports gambling. But that doesn’t mean that all bookmakers are created equal. In most places, online bookmakers are still a no go because governments don’t trust them. For now, at least. In some countries, like Japan, you will only find a few licensed bookmakers which are permitted to offer wagering. So, in order to place a bet, you will usually need to go to one of their offices physically.

Legal Issues

Even in places where it is legal to bet on sports, there can still be restrictions. For example, the odds for some sports are fixed, so there is no chance of winning otherwise. In a country like Japan, professional bookmakers are technically considered to be engaged in the illegal business of betting. So, even though wagering is now legal, it is still widely frowned upon. (Professional gamblers will tell you that the stigma attached to bookmaking remains one of the major challenges in a place like Japan).

Nevertheless, as more and more countries become legal in terms of sports gambling, the stigma associated with bookies will dwindle. Right now, however, people in most parts of the world will still consider sports betting to be a dirty little secret. Not for long.


The 1×2 example above focused primarily on the issue of legal precedence and the stigma attached to bookmaking. One of the interesting quirks about 1×2 betting, however, is that it is predominantly popular with the Japanese. Nearly 90% of all 1×2 bets are placed in Japan. But why is that? Does it have something to do with the country being a relative newcomer to sports betting? Or is it more about the Japanese liking to follow the ‘the rule of two’? (In Japan, it is illegal to bet on a sporting event if the game ends in a tie). If you are someone who enjoys playing odds, you may be surprised to learn that the statistics for 1×2 betting are somewhat skewed. With the rise of eSports, now is a good time to explore other options.