In Japan, gambling is illegal, but the country is home to more than half of the world’s legal gaming machines. The number is about to increase as the country prepares to issue licenses to three commercial integrated resorts and casinos.

Why then does japan have the most gaming machines if gambling is illegal? A report compiled by the Australian based Gaming Technologies Association (GTA) found that the gaming machines in Japan, commonly known as Panchiko, are classified as gambling terminals.

The report stated, “Pachinko is similar to a vertical pinball game, where the ball cascades down through various pins and into certain locations that can result in more balls being released. The more balls obtained, the larger the value of the prize.”

According to GTA, the machines are counted as gaming machines because players exchange their balls or token for merchandise at panchinko parlors. Still, the items can be exchanged for cash at shops nearby. Apart from panchinko, video lottery terminals are common in Japan.

Japan Gaming Machines

Japan tips the world when it comes to gaming machines. In 2018 there were 4.3 million gaming machines in the land of raising sun. The total gaming machines in the world were 7,402,392, meaning the country had a staggering 58 percent of the machines worldwide.

The USA followed at far with 898,974, Italy third with 320,000 Germany Fourth with 277,700 and Australia fifth with 196,301. Currently, Japan is implementing regulations that will govern the upcoming casino market. The gaming operators are partnering with local Japanese companies as they await bidding.

The upcoming integrated resort is expected to have a minimum of 1.07 square feet of indoor floor. The casino is to occupy three percent of the area. According to, Las Vegas Sands and MGM are likely to win two of the licenses, Nevada based company is more focused on Yokohama and Osaka.

Gaming Expansion Details

After launching the casinos, the total gaming positions in Japan will increase to 6,000 or more. While the venue of the IR remains to be debated, the general public is expressing fears over problem gambling. To avoid the problem, Japanese citizen will be required to pay a $55 entrance fee and will only be permitted to access the facilities 10 times in 28 days.

Kadin Taim is a web journalist and news enthusiast. He has been writing about casinos, politics and technology. An avid casino enthusiast, Kadin has done his Masters in Finance and Bachelors in Journalism.
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