Pachinko and Pachislot machines have dominated the Japanese gambling market for decades now, but a recent survey suggest that its number of users have been shrinking year by year with new record lows.
To give you an idea how big pachinko is in Japan, the pachinko market was valued at about 30 trillion yen in 1994 and as of 2015, pachinko players in Japan spent more money than the combined annual gambling revenues of Las Vegas, Singapore, and Macao, combined.
However, things are looking to cool down a bit according to Net research service providers MyVoice, who has been doing the pachinko survey since 2008, and this year is its sixth survey in the series. The data comes from 14,360 online participants including men and women from their teens to 70s.
The above shows the results of the past five surveys. As of February 2019, 7.7% (red) have played on pachinko machines and still do. 45.6% (green) say they’ve played in the past but do not currently play. A record high of 46.7% say that they’ve never played a pachinko game before.
While it doesn’t show in the above chart, the very first survey in 2008 had 11.9% for the people that still played, and that carried over into the second survey in February 2010. However, from there it continued its yearly decline going from 10.2% in 2012 to 9.3% in 2014, 8.6% in 2016, and now 7.7% in 2019.
The “I used to play but not anymore” part (green) was at about 57.2% in the very first survey back in 2008 and only 31% participants never played on a pachinko machine.
Pachislot machines, on the other hand, had 5.1% (red) of users who currently play, and 24.1% (green) who played before but not currently, and 70.8% who never played before. These numbers haven’t changed as drastically in comparison to the pachinko side, but its ratio of participants who never played before has continued rising from its 66.3% in 2010.
When asked how often the users frequented pachinko parlors, “About 1~2 times a week” and “About 1~2 times a month” were in the upper 30% area. About 70% of the participants spend 10,000 yen or less during each session, an overall increase from the past.
Users provided the following reasons for why they play pachinko and pachislot machines (multiple choice):
- For a change of pace—52.4%
- To kill time—39.3%
- To relieve stress—37.2%
- For fun or leisure—26.4%
- It’s easy to enjoy—24.8%
- It’s a fun way to gamble—22.8%
- It’s fun to play as a game—19.8%
- To make actual profit—18.2%
The users also provided some feedback and requests. Here are some of those:
- “I’d like to go to a shop that would just let me keep shooting pachinko for 500 yen an hour.”
- “A wholesome pachinko. With no gambling and no smoking, just the pure game.”
- “A shop that considers your health, for example one with an established bathhouse and so on.”
- “Perhaps I’d go if there were women-only shops or ones that disallow smoking.”