Japanese Pachinko Industry Struggling Amid Gambling Addiction Regulations

Japanese pachinko parlors have already been struggling in recent years. And things could get even bleaker for these hybrid pinball-slot machines when new regulations aimed at gambling addiction take place. The Japanese Diet passed new laws on gaming venues that are designed to curb problem gambling. The new rules call for reduced payouts on pachinko […]

Japanese pachinko parlors have already been struggling in recent years. And things could get even bleaker for these hybrid pinball-slot machines when new regulations aimed at gambling addiction take place.

The Japanese Diet passed new laws on gaming venues that are designed to curb problem gambling.

The new rules call for reduced payouts on pachinko machines, which are designed to make these games less exciting. Pachinko halls must implement the new rules within the next three years.

Upcoming Casinos will Create More Competition for Pachinko

Aside from having to reduce the the largest payouts and make their games less attractive, pachinko parlors will eventually have to deal with land-based casinos.

A pachinko hall owner by the name of Suzuki told the Japan Times that the casinos combined with new anti-addiction measurements could be brutal.

“If you restrict the excitement so much, people will quit,” Suzuki explained. “The point of allowing casinos was to bolster regional finances. But the pachinko industry will be taking the hit.”

Some Pachinko Businesses are Closing

Pachinko first gained widespread popularity after World War II. The industry continued growing from here, with these pinball-slot machines becoming very common across the country.

But the last two decades have seen pachinko halls disappear rapidly. Today, there are only 9,600 parlors in Japan, compared to 17,000 two decades ago.

Some operators are going bankrupt, which explains the declining numbers. 29 hall owners declared bankruptcy last year, compared to just 12 in 2016.

Suzuki commented that one of the biggest problems is the cost of buying new machines.

“It’s a big problem for parlors that cannot afford it,” he said. “At the moment, there are estimated to be 4,000 to 5,000 parlors that are not buying new machines.”

Some people won’t have sympathy for the declining industry, given that 3.6% of Japanese adults have been addicted to gambling at some point in their lives. This is higher than the 1-2% national average in other developed countries.

Nevertheless, it’s hard not to at least feel something for a declining industry that was once so strong not long ago.

 

Leave a Reply


four × 2 =