What is Pachinko?
Pachinko is one of the most popular games in Japan and is the only form of gambling that private businesses are permitted to operate. Technically Pachinko is not regarded as gambling because it awards customers with cash indirectly.
Ironically, Pachinko plays a crucial role in the Japanese GDP, despite occupying a legislative gray area. According to an official report, the total leisure market size in Japan is about £325 billion (*exchange rate as of 27/10 applied).
That actually means that Pachinko is responsible for about 2.7% of GDP in Japan as indicated by this study.
Another fun fact, according to Forbes, is that Mr.Busujima, the CEO of one Pachinko slot machine maker, is one of the top 10 richest people in Japan. This also reflects how established the industry has become.
The transition of the industry in the last 10 years
You might have imagined that Pachinko was a gold mine and that everyone should be interested in playing. However the industry has been declining for a long time. It hit its peak in 1996, generating 30 trillion Japanese Yen. However, over the last 10 years, the number has steadily declined followed by the sharp drop in 2020 due to the pandemic.The reasons for these diminishing returns are thought to be the result of the indifference of players from younger generations. Other factors include the gambling restrictions on the Pachinko business, the increase in the price of slot machines and so on. Whatever the reasons, the future of Pachinko is uncertain.
What is Smart Pachinko?
Pachinko is often translated as “slot machine game” or something similar.
This translation is actually quite accurate because people do play “typical slot machines” where you put coins into a machine and try to win more.
But the introduction of Smart Pachinko is expected to bring some changes to the industry. First of all, the game is completely coinless and ball-less.
Just imagine having a big screen smart-phone on which you can play slot games online. It would help to reduce the concern of spreading Covid and put an end to the physical work required to carry boxes of coins/balls.
There are other merits such as preventing cheating and addiction as well as offering better chances of winning a bonus). Overall Smart Pachinko is expected to bring fairness and more excitement to gambling.
Could it save the industry?
So can Smart Pachinko bring hope to the declining land-based industry? Yes and no. While we’ve already looked at the positives, the fact that games don’t include coins or balls is going to be off-putting for many, as detailed by this blogger. Additionally, when people go to gamble, they would expect to win some money. And subconsciously, most players dream of huge wins and life-changing pay-outs.
When it comes to Pachinko this picture shows what a lot of players really want.
The image of course depicts piles of boxes full of balls. This is what many people are there for. However with Smart Pachinko you won’t have boxes, balls, touch balls, or hear the sound of balls coming out of the machine. These are the elements that people enjoy other than just simply winning the game. This plays a big role in attracting people to the traditional game.
In conclusion, the effect of Smart Pachinko on the industry remains to be seen. And it will take some time to assess its full impact. But its introduction could potentially be the biggest turning point for Pachinko.