When people think of Japan, gambling is definitely not the first thing they would associate this beautiful and intriguing country with. There are any number of aspects that come to mind first, from traditional arts and wonderful gardens to anime, manga, a love for all things tech and cool innovations. You’d rather imagine the Japanese slowly sipping on their green tea, after performing the traditional tea ceremony, than picturing them engaging in any gambling activities.
That’s probably because Japan has always had a strict approach when it comes to gambling. Most forms of gambling are prohibited in the country and there are no land-based or online casinos in Japan where players can put their gambling skills to the test. With such limited gambling possibilities, it’s no wonder that casino games are not exactly the pinnacle of entertainment in Japan.
However, the Japanese have found a way around things and although they don’t enjoy the same freedom as players in other countries, they’ve managed to create a thriving pachinko market that reigns supreme in the local gambling industry. So, if you want to learn more about the fascinating world of pachinko and what makes this game so special in Japan, you’re going to find out some very interesting facts below.
Gambling options in Japan
Before we get down to the nitty gritty of the pachinko market, let’s take a look at the Japanese gambling industry as a whole, to get a sense of context and gain a better understanding of the relationship that the Japanese have with gambling.
As we mentioned previously, Japanese authorities have always had a tight grip on gambling activities across the country. Gambling in Japan dates back to the 7th century, but in 1907 the Japanese Penal Code placed a ban on most gambling-related activities. That’s also when pachinko games started to gain popularity, as they were not labeled as gambling, so people could enjoy them freely.
Along with pachinko, Japanese players could also engage in sports betting. Betting on boat and horse races are just some of the activities that fill the void. State-run lottery is also hugely popular in Japan, with lots of people buying lottery tickets regularly.
As for online gambling, things are a bit tricky in this area. The advent of the internet has made things a lot simpler for gamblers across the globe, and yet online casinos are technically illegal in Japan. So, what can Japanese gamblers do about it? The fact that online casinos aren’t permitted in Japan doesn’t really stop gamblers from playing casino games on foreign websites. Since the online providers they choose aren’t Japanese, they take advantage of this gimmick to enjoy their favorite casino games online.
That’s how online gambling has grown in popularity over the last few years in Japan, gathering quite a large fan base. Japanese players are no strangers to the world of online gambling and they’re also familiar with the best strategies to play online casino games.
The IR Bill
Even though the gambling industry in Japan is not as developed as in other countries, there is good news on the horizon as well. The Integrated Resorts Implementation Bill from 2018 marked a new beginning for the local gambling market. This bill paves the way for legalizing land-based casinos in Japan, so people can finally play casino games having complete peace of mind.
While there are still a few more steps until reaching this objective, the authorities are optimistic about it and they hope this will help them solve several gambling related issues they’ve been battling for years. The first casino establishments will probably be completed in 2025, so until then players can continue to quench their gambling thirst with pachinko games.
Pachinko – the game to rule them all
Now let’s see what pachinko is all about and what makes them so popular in Japan. Pachinko is usually described as a mixture between a slot machine and pinball. Simply put, it’s an arcade-style mechanic game in which a metallic ball has to go through different obstacles in a playing field. If you manage to get the ball into a certain playing area, the mechanism will determine the payout, which means winning more balls. You can later exchange these balls for goods or cash.
Men and women alike enjoy playing pachinko games and that has given rise to a thriving pachinko industry in Japan. In 2019, statistics reveal that the pachinko and pachi slot market size in Japan amounted to almost 20 trillion Japanese yen. The fact that there are over 10,000 pachinko parlors in the country speaks of the game’s popularity and establishes it as a leader in the Japanese Gambling industry.
Pachinko and its younger cousin pachi slot machines entice millions of players with their colorful and flashing games. Games like Puella Magi Madoka Madomagi Slot for Japanese pachinko players hold a special appeal for people who are looking for a fun pastime. Pachinko and pachi slots don’t require much effort from players, as they only offer limited control over the outcome of the game, but in time, one can develop certain skills and improve winning chances.
The fame of pachinko and pachi slots has grown so much in Japan, that certain operators have created online versions of the game for those who want to play pachinko from the comfort of their own homes. However, since online gambling in Japan remains in a gray area and people are still very fond of their pachinko parlors, the traditional versions of the game are here to stay.
Until we see further developments in the local gambling environment, pachinko will remain the indisputable ruler in the market, with games such as Evangelion AT777 attracting players like a magnet. So, it’s worth keeping an eye on the developing gambling industry in Japan and see where things are headed next.