Pachinko industry to be hit by gambling addiction policies

The high-profile public debate on gambling addiction, which until now has been mainly associated with the forthcoming establishment of IRs, is set to hit Japan’s lucrative pachinko industry.

The National Police Agency on Monday announced new policies meant to crack down on gambling addiction. Some of the main elements will be to slow down the provision of pachinko balls to about two-thirds of the current maximum and to limit players to receiving JPY50,000 (US$450) in pachinko ball value over a four hour period. Currently, players may receive as much as three times that amount.

These new regulations are to be applied to pachislot machines as well.

A high-ranking police official explained to the national media: “Because of the addiction issue, we want to promote a proper way of playing without excessive shooting of pachinko balls.”

The National Police Agency has unveiled its proposed revisions to the Regulations for Enforcement of the Act on the Control and Improvement of the Amusement and Entertainment Business for public comment. These new regulations are expected to be enforced from next February.

Managers of pachinko parlors are also to be obliged to offer training to their staff about gambling addiction, as well as to offer information about problem gambling to customers.

Police officials told the media that there were 10,986 pachinko parlors in Japan as of last year. They have been officially classified as entertainment facilities rather than gambling establishments, but awareness that they are the main source for Japan’s problem gambling has been rising along with the national debate about IR facilities.

More news from this jurisdiction

JapanWednesday, Jul 19, 2017

The city council of Iwanuma, in Japan’s northern Miyagi Prefecture, envisions a bid for an IR as a measure to help the local area recover from the March 2011 tsunami that devastated Japan.

JapanTuesday, Jul 18, 2017

Grant Govertsen, an analyst for Union Gaming, has produced a second report this month highlighting gloomy scenarios for the future of IRs in Japan.

JapanMonday, Jul 17, 2017

The official-two week campaign period ahead of the July 30 mayoral election for Yokohama was launched on Sunday, with two of the three candidates opposing the hosting of an IR in the city.

JapanMonday, Jul 10, 2017

The city council of Tokoname appealed on Friday to Aichi Governor Hideaki Omura, calling for an accelerated feasibility study for siting an IR within their municipality.

JapanThursday, Jul 06, 2017

Las Vegas Sands and MGM Resorts are among the two operators most likely to receive the urban IR concessions in Osaka and Yokohama, notes Morningstar analysts.

JapanThursday, Jul 06, 2017

The Hokkaido prefectural government has reportedly decided that only one IR licensing bid from the local region will be submitted to the national government.

JapanWednesday, Jul 05, 2017

The outcome of Tokyo’s local elections on Sunday is likely negative for IRs, but could be a relief for Japan’s pachinko industry.