Could Slots Overtake Pachinko in Popularity in Japanese Society?

newsonjapan.com -- Mar 31
Gaming has always been a significant part of Japanese culture. When you visit the country, you’ll be taken aback by the number of arcades that house hundreds of locals and tourists trying to sample a piece of the action.

Pachinko, a game indigenous to Japan, is undoubtedly the king of Japanese gaming society, with over 10% of the population counting themselves as users. As a result, Japan spends £145 billion on pachinko annually. So, the idea that slot machines could equal and better this dominance sound far-fetched. That is, however, until you factor in the following.

Land-Based Casinos Are on the Horizon

It will take a while for the decades of history and culture surrounding pachinko to be taken down, but there are signs that modern Japanese men and women are coming around to the new ways of gaming. This is best highlighted by the proposals for land-based casinos that are popping up throughout the islands, most noticeably on Kyushu.

Nagasaki has become the epicentre of fierce debate in the past couple of days because of breaking news surrounding three IR operators that have made it to the next round of the prefecture’s Request for Proposal process has been released. It's not the operators that are the main draw – it's the fact that centuries of rules and regulations are seemingly being adapted.

This could only mean one thing, which is that Japanese citizens are demanding the introduction of land-based casinos. And once they arrive, the influence of slot machines will be apparent. After all, they are the most popular casino game.

Online Establishments Are Cementing Change

The fact that proposals for land-based casinos are being introduced only mirrors the impact of the internet. Before the world wide web, Japanese people didn’t have the scope to play games that weren’t available in their country, which is partly why pachinko is huge in the Land of the Rising Sun.

But remote casinos have changed everything. Now, it’s easy to land on a platform that offers a range of titles, including slot machines, wherever you are in the world. For Japanese citizens, this has opened up a realm of opportunities, as seen by the popularity of a Scandinavian gambling establishment in Japanese culture. As the options increase, the demand for online slots will only expand, too, since any casino worth joining must include a wide range of online slots that caters to the playing demand. The result? More people within Japan moving away from pachinko and towards slot machines, whether real or virtual.

Slots and Pachinko Share Similarities

Finally, it’s hard to look past the similarities that the two games share. For example, while pachinko has kept the foundation of the game that made it popular, it has evolved with the times. Today, pachinko players see the same features they see on slot machines, such as entertaining videos and soundtracks and sound effects that enhance the playing experience.

Although these elements make pachinko more enjoyable, they also overlap with slots. Therefore, if a person likes one medium, they are bound to like the other. This means pachinko could unwittingly push its loyal base towards slots, particularly if it continues to introduce tweaks that make them more similar.

It’s feasible that slots could takeover pachinko in terms of popularity in Japanese society as the signs are already evident. Still, it will take a while to overthrow a billion-pound industry with years of backing.