Wondering can you win money playing pachinko in Japan? Here’s everything you need to know about playing pachinko to win money and other prizes!
Pachinko is the closest you can get to gambling in Japan. Pachinko machines go way back to the 1920s and they have evolved to incorporate more modern themes. What started off as a game for the entertainment of children has now become a common pastime for adults.
It didn’t take long for pachinko to earn the name of petty gambling as money began to be involved.
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Can you win money playing pachinko in Japan?
Pachinko is somewhat a cross between a slot machine and a bagatelle game. While you cannot directly win any money in the game, the balls that you capture can be traded in for tokens or coupons that can be exchanged for cash at a tuck shop that is off the premises of the pachinko parlour.
It is illegal to play pachinko for money in Japan. But there are loopholes around Japan’s strict gambling laws, some stemming from the belief that the Japanese mafia or Yakuza once controlled the cash prize.
How do you trade in your pachinko balls for actual money?
Alert the staff once you are finished playing your game. This is usually done by holding up your arms in an ‘X’ in front of you. The staff will help you count the balls with the help of a counting machine.
This machine will produce a receipt that will have the number of balls that you have collected. Once you take this receipt to the main counter, another member of staff will exchange your receipt for a token.
It is usually a set of colour coded cards. These cards can be further exchanged for money. However, this cannot be done on the parlour premise. You have to take this token to a tuck shop. These shops will usually be outside the parlor but sometimes can be even a block away.
How do you find these tuck shops? Well you can’t ask the staff working at the parlor because they will not tell you. So your best bet is to follow the other winners and see where they go.
Don’t be alarmed if you don’t see any staff at the tuck shop. You will see a small Astroturf-lined drawer that will pop out once you are at the front of the line. When you drop your coloured cards in, it will snap shut and when it opens again, you will have your money.
How to play pachinko?
Pachinko involves small steel balls that are to be shot vertically and they bounce down through a series of pins. The player uses a lever to do this. If the balls drop through specific pockets, additional balls come rolling out.
Modern machines come with animated screens and videos. The balls are rented from the parlour that you are playing at. They are used to keep a track of your score and also can be exchanged for prizes later.
Most of these little balls have unique designs engraved on them. This is to identify the pachinko parlour that they belong to. Once you finish playing, you can signal one of the staff members to help you count the balls that you have on your tray.
They can now be traded in for prizes. Some of the common prizes that these little steel balls can be traded in for are electronics, cigarettes, cosmetics, and books.
Here’s the twist. Each of these prizes is a marker. They can be taken to tuck shops that are outside the pachinko parlour and exchanged for cash. It is important to remember that asking where you can exchange these gifts for money is forbidden and you need to find these little tuck shops on your own.
Why are people addicted to pachinko?
The experience of stepping into a pachinko parlour is not like any other. Once you are in, you are surrounded by lights, the deafening sound of pachinko machines, and cigarette smoke. You will find many customers sitting in the narrow aisles with one hand controlling the dial on the machine and the other controlling the joystick.
Customers sometimes are so transfixed by the game that they lose track of the money they put in. This can cause them to lose out on thousands of yen in a single day.
A sociology professor who runs a rehabilitation centre for gambling addiction says that the video game aspect of pachinko is what makes it so addictive. The Japanese government, however, does not acknowledge this as a matter of concern since it is considered to be only a game and not gambling.
Is pachinko illegal?
Playing pachinko is not illegal in Japan as long as you aren’t playing for money. Gambling in any form is considered to be illegal in Japan.
Can tourists play pachinko?
Yes, tourists can play pachinko in Japan. It is always advisable to familiarize yourself with the laws and rules before you play pachinko in Japan.
How much money can you win from pachinko?
If you hit the jackpot when playing pachinko, you can win as much as 200,000 yen in a single day playing pachinko in Japan.
How much are pachinko balls worth?
Pachinko balls can be worth anywhere from one yen and go up to hundreds of yen depending on the machine.
Why is pachinko so popular in Japan?
Pachinko is so popular because it is the closest thing to gambling that is legal in Japan. It also considered a part of the rich Japanese culture.
Is pachinko a game of skill or luck?
Many believe that pachinko is a game of skill as it requires a certain skill to work the levers on the machine. However, it does take some amount of luck to win as pachinko machines use random number generators.
Is pachinko rigged?
You can’t exactly say that the game is rigged. But if you were to talk to pachinko pros, they will tell you that choosing the right machine is probably the most important aspect of playing the game.
Hiya! I’m the main author of Japan Truly. I love everything Japan and love testing out Japanese products, be it skincare and makeup or gadgets! You’ll find reviews of some of the best selling Japanese products (tried and tested) right here!