Japan Casinos Won’t Have Pachinko, as Country Details Gambling Games

Posted on: April 5, 2021, 08:50h. 

Last updated on: July 19, 2021, 03:03h.

Pachinko, the most popular form of low-stakes gambling currently in Japan, will not be permitted inside the country’s three forthcoming integrated casino resorts. 

Japan casino integrated resort
Japan’s five-member Casino Regulatory Commission is seen here at its first meeting in January of 2020. The panel says pachinko machines will not be allowed inside the country’s casinos. (Image: Kyodo)

Pachinko is a mechanical recreational arcade game that is often described as an inverted pinball-slot machine hybrid. The colorful and noisy machines challenge players to shoot small steel balls into a variety of holes and areas that discharge additional balls. 

Once finished playing, patrons can exchange their pinballs at the parlor for tokens. These tokens are commonly exchanged for cash at nearby redemption vendors. Japan bans pachinko parlors from handing out cash winnings. 

Japanese people wager some $200 billion annually inside pachinko parlors. But when brick-and-mortar commercial casinos arrive in the Land of the Rising Sun, pachinko machines won’t be on the gaming floors.

Allowed Games

Japan’s Casino Regulatory Commission today outlined what sort of games will be permitted inside what are expected to be multibillion-dollar casino properties. The news was first relayed by Inside Asian Gaming. 

The agency outlines nine categories of allowed games. They are: 

  • Baccarat (two versions)
  • Blackjack (four versions)
  • Poker (eight formats)
  • Sic Bo
  • Craps
  • Casino War
  • Money Wheel (roulette)
  • Pai Gow
  • Slot machines

The Casino Regulatory Commission also announced that all major stakeholders and executives of the casino businesses proposing schemes will be subjected to background checks during the bidding process. The goal, the agency says, is to ensure “social credibility” and determine that all involved are suitable to run gaming in Japan.

The commission’s release additionally explains that clocks will need to be displayed throughout the casino areas, and ATM machines will not be tolerated. Marketing materials advertising casino comps for rewards members will be prohibited. 

Nothing that could potentially arouse the passion for gambling may be included,” the release declared. 

The Casino Regulatory Commission is accepting public feedback on the proposed regulations and games until May 9. After that time, the agency will move forward with finalizing the conditions.

Casino Enthusiasm Curbed 

Japan’s looming gaming industry was once viewed as the largest market opportunity since China’s Macau welcomed five new casino operators some two decades ago. But the country’s deliberate process to bring casinos live has caused frustration among the world’s leading gaming firms.

Japan’s National Diet passed its casino bill back in July of 2018. Nearly 1,000 days later, and the country hasn’t even finalized the type of games that will be allowed. 

COVID-19 has further hurt interest, as global economic unrest remains. Las Vegas Sands, the planet’s richest gaming company in terms of casino revenue generation, folded on its Japan ambitions nearly a year ago. 

MGM Resorts, Wynn Resorts, and Melco Resorts — long thought as three other front-runners for licensure in Japan — say they’re still interested but would prefer to take on a smaller investment role than they envisioned in 2018.