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Pachinko パチンコ gambling among the most popular in Japan

Pachinko is a very popular game in Japan, where halls are present in every city. It is a gaming machine similar to slot machines, but with some differences that make it unique. A small paradox because Pachinko is a game of chance, but halls are springing up like mushrooms, why?

Pachinko was born in Japan in the 1920s as a game for children. Over the years, the game became more and more popular and after the war it turned into a gambling game for adults. Today, Pachinko is one of the most popular entertainment activities in Japan, with thousands of dedicated halls across the country.


How it works is quite simple: players buy metal balls to use in the game, which are available in Pachinko parlors. Each ball costs about 4 yen and players can buy them in packs of 100 or 500 balls. The aim of the game is not to make the balls fall to the bottom, but to get them out of the side holes, which give other balls as a reward for playing. Inside the machine, balls are released from the top and fall onto the playing surface through a series of courses and obstacles. Furthermore, during the game, the machine can also activate some special features, such as the possibility of winning extra balls or activating additional bonuses.

There are some unwritten rules that Pachinko players follow when visiting the halls. For example, players must remain seated the entire time they play and cannot use their cell phone. Once you finish playing you will have to convert the balls into prizes. Here comes the ambiguous part because you shouldn't have a return in money but only in prizes, but this often doesn't happen also because most of the cinemas are managed by local criminals who use them for laundering.


Pachinko machines are usually very large and colourful, with flashing lights and loud sounds creating an exciting and immersive atmosphere. Anyone who has been to Japan will perfectly remember the noise you hear in these halls. Even just walking down the street, when the automatic doors open, one is hit by a deafening noise in addition to the heavy smell of smoke. I've always wondered how they stay in it even for whole days.

While Pachinko is legally considered a game of chance in Japan, it is actually a very popular form of entertainment among Japanese people of all ages and social classes. There are several reasons why the game is so popular: First, Pachinko offers the chance to win cash prizes and other interesting items, such as cell phones, laptops and other gadgets. Secondly, gambling is socially accepted in Japan and is seen as a harmless and fun entertainment activity. Finally, many people play Pachinko to relax and escape the daily stress. However, the game has also received criticism for its potentially addictive risk and its association with organized crime.


In Japan, Pachinko has also become an important source of income for the companies that manufacture gaming machines and for the halls that house them. Gaming generates a huge amount of revenue, estimated to be over 31 trillion yen (about 270 billion euros) annually with a growing trend, making it one of the most profitable industries in the country. However, there are concerns about gambling problems and pachinko addiction. Some Japanese cities have introduced regulations to restrict access to Pachinko parlors and to prevent gambling addiction.

So we have gambling, but socially accepted, which however creates a deep addiction in the players and heavy debts. In addition to this, most of the (even if we often ignore it) are in the hands of the underworld who use them as an important source of revenue but above all to clean up the money.

What do you think about it? Have you ever tried it? let us know your opinion.

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Society, Mauro, Pachinko

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