The pachinko industry in Japan is overseen by numerous laws and regulations, including the Law Regulating Adult Entertainment Businesses, aimed at maintaining public order and safety, preventing gambling addiction, and protecting consumers. However, recently, there has been a move towards easing some of the regulations in the pachinko industry, with potential impacts on the industry and players alike.
Current Key Regulations:
- Prohibition of Entry for Minors: Individuals under the age of 18 are prohibited by law from entering pachinko parlors.
- Prohibition of Prize Exchange for Cash: It’s forbidden to exchange pachinko prizes for cash. The unofficial exchange of prizes for cash, known as the “three-store system,” is considered a legal gray area.
- Advertising and Promotion Restrictions: The advertising rules for pachinko are regulated under the Law Regulating Adult Entertainment Businesses, with certain expressions and event promotions being prohibited.
Upcoming Regulatory Easements:
- Easing of Total Regulation: Starting June 1, 2023, the internal regulation on total balls in pachinko is set to change from 6400 balls to 9600 balls. This easement is expected to introduce machines with higher expected ball output values in the halls, which is seen as a welcome change for pachinko fans1.
- Easing of Advertising Regulations: On February 1, 2023, an easing of advertising regulations in the pachinko industry was announced. This change allows for openly recommending machines or specific machines on the day, which is seen as a trigger toward the industry’s upward trend2.
- Easing of Business Advertising Regulations: The National Police Agency issued a notice to the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department and prefectural police forces regarding the regulation of advertising and promotion in the pachinko business, leading to a certain level of regulatory easing3. Additionally, it’s reported that with the easing of advertising and promotion regulations for pachinko parlors, the possibility of reviving event days is foreseen4.
These regulatory easements are anticipated to bring positive changes in the pachinko industry. Especially the easing of total regulation is likely to bring joy to pachinko fans. However, it remains essential to observe how these regulatory changes impact the pachinko industry and players over time.
While changes in regulation contribute to the healthy development of the industry, they also play a crucial role in maintaining a fair gaming environment and preventing gambling addiction.