You gotta know when to hold them..
Gambling in Japan is very restricted and enforced by the government. Generally speaking there are a few different methods of gambling that are allowed under government supervision. Those methods are bicycle racing, horse racing, car racing among a few other methods.
One other method that is considered “leisure” is pachinko, this is the closest thing to a casino that Japan has for now. However there is a bill that might legitimize casinos, however I don’t have enough background on that so I won&t talk about it you can check more about it at this following link.
So today I thought I would talk about something I have seen a lot and had the misfortune to have to go to while my parents were visiting… Pachinko. So what is pachinko, it is a slot type game where people pay money to watch metal bearings fall down into a series of holes. If the bearings make it into certain holes the players get more bearings.
Now when a person plays they can “cash in” their bearings for prizes on site. the prizes are usually household items like soap and other things. However, this is where pachinko crosses over into gambling. Many places will offer a player a ticket for the amount of balls that they earned they can then take those to an offsite “shop”where they can trade them for cash or coins they can exchange for money.
Now the pachinko buildings are a very prosperous business but it spreads much more past that. Because pachink is considered leisure by the government they can legally be put in arcades next to childrens games. So it is not uncommon to find many parents playing pachinko while their kids play the newest Dragonball-Cho card arcade.Thee are even pachinko machines run by private entities “AKA Yakuza” in tattoo shops,, porn shops and sometimes even bus stops.
All in all gambling in Japan is a contradiction of the law, but something that Japan struggles with a lot. New laws may make it legal in the future to create casinos and exasperate the problem. But the prime minister Shinzo Abe sees it as a great way to increase tourism. Pachinko in all of its forms will be sure to be a present source of entertainment no matter what happent in the future.