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Pachinko is a popular gambling machine that’s based in Japan. The machines are somewhat of a hybrid of pinball and a slot machine, and serve as a way for Japanese players to gamble without breaking the country’s strict gambling laws.
Generally speaking, betting for money is illegal in Japan. Citizens can play some lotteries, and some sports can be bet on, but casino gambling isn’t allowed. Casino gambling has been outlawed for a long time, although lawmakers have recently voted to approve of the activity.
Being the shrewd characters that they are, the Japanese concocted a way to bet for cash without breaking the law. The first machines came about in the 1920's, and allowed gamblers to shoot balls up into a pinned backboard, where they bounce around. The goal is to have these balls end up in pockets that end up awarding more balls, but you face the caveat of having balls fall into a dead-zone, where they’re collected by the machine itself.
The betting model around pachinko machines goes like this: Players buy a tray of balls using cash. The balls are then played through the machine, and if you score more balls, they’ll clink their way into a bottom tray. These balls can be collected and taken back to a redemption counter. Here, your balls will be exchanged for a small prize (remember, gambling for cash is illegal!). You then take your prize to a redemption kiosk outside the pachinko parlor, where you can sell your prize to the kiosk owner for cash. It’s quite imaginative, actually!
Online Pachislot Games
As the internet has proliferated, most traditional betting games have found their way online. This has translated to pachinko machines as well, as we now see pachislots (a mixture of pachinko and slot machine). These games are essentially pachinko machines at heart, but have high-tech features that bring them to life. Some of these features include LED displays, loud sound effects, and interactive features. While the games are playable in pachinko halls, you can also see some of these titles coming online.
Online pachislots are still a bit of a niche, but we’ve seen developers working to integrate the machines alongside more traditional slots. Often times, we’ll see the themes of a popular pachislot machine ported to an online title, allowing you to try and navigate the simple story based on the outcome of your wager.
We’re excited to see just where online pachislots are going to end up going, as they offer a unique twist on the betting experience. The games are beginning to find their way into the online casino ecosystem, and the future certainly seems bright, especially as the Asian online gambling industry continues to grow.
Thank you to the original SooPoo for the pictures.