One of the few legal forms of gambling in Japan is officially known as “Kyotei”, a type of boat racing. It is a hydroplane racing event that was introduced in the country in 1952. Every day, thousands of people go to stadiums to watch the sports event which gives them a chance to win or simply enjoy the exciting races.
Kyotei racing is done on several man-made lakes across Japan. The boating course is in an oval shape measuring 600 meters. About 6 boats race with each other in a 1,800-meter course over 2 minutes. All boats belong to the stadium and are allocated to each racer by lottery. The race starts with a stand-by warm-up where boats are given the signal when to leave the dock. Racers are given only a limited time to tune their engine. They also have to do this on their own. With a one-minute countdown and approximately 12 seconds before the clock reaches zero, all boats race up at high speed hoping to win the race.
All boats are identical in designs as well as their engines. The design has hardly changed since the start of boat races in 1952. However, those with best track records are definitely noted down. A boat is immediately disqualified when it experiences a malfunction or problem during the race. Racers must have the mechanical expertise as well as the driving skills to join. They are only allowed to tune their boat’s engine and to use their own propellers. That is why there is always a practice round for drivers to test the boat before starting the race. There are no refunds given to disqualified boats. It only happens if all boats become disqualified. Once everything is set, all boats are lined up side by side.
Kyotei race is an exciting event where you can get a close-up view of boats speeding by. With the racers’ great skills, it’s quite exciting to see them race so fast without colliding every time! Would you like to see a Kyotei racing event?