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Land-Based Gaming Industry in Japan Still Dominated By Pachinko

1 July 2014

Changes in the Japanese gambling industry regulatory regime have been highly debated during the past few months. Operators who want to purchase casino software and start online casino in Asia should know that the government has considered legalizing casino resorts in the country, but no casino bill has been passed yet. Even so, Japanese gaming enthusiasts can still rely on playing Pachinko, the most popular game in the country.

According to local law, individuals who play Pachinko in Japan are not actually conducting gambling activities, because technically, no real money transactions are made in Pachinko parlors. Entrepreneurs that want to start online casino in Asia should know that when people play Pachinko, they do not insert money in the machine, but instead place their bets for shiny plastic tokens. If they win, players go to a TUC (Tokyo Union Circulation) across the street, which is not actually part of the gambling hall that houses Pachinko machines. At the TUC, players can trade their tokens for real money.

Operators who are looking to buy casino software and start online casinos in Asia should know that Pachinko is not actually considered a gambling game, and because of that, politicians ignore it in practice. The only difference between real gambling and Pachinko is that players need to make two exchanges instead of one while playing the game.

Gaming analysts said that Pachinko is a game that will continue to mesmerize the Japanese public in the long run, whether or not real money gambling will be legalized soon. Land based casinos and online casinos are not allowed yet in Japan, but the Tokyo Olympic Games scheduled for 2020 are one of the best reasons why regulators should create a regulatory framework for real-money gambling activities.

If operators wonder what will happen to Pachinko once casino resorts are allowed, they should know that gaming industry insiders admitted that Pachinko is already generating maximum revenue, and legalization of other gambling games would most probably not change that. Japan residents have become accustomed with this form of gaming, and will stick to playing it.

On the other hand, the legalization of online casinos or brick-and-mortar casinos would attract more tourists to Japan. With the Olympic Games scheduled for 2020, significant revenue for the state coffers could be collected if regulators decide to legalize the industry by then.

In conclusion, the Pachinko market will most probably not be influenced in a significant manner by the legalization of land-based casinos and online casinos. However, casino resorts will attract an important number of foreigners who are not accustomed with Pachinko.  

1 July 2014

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