Pachinko and Casino Slots: What’s the Difference?

Pachinko is really big in Japan. Not many people know about it outside of the country, but if you have been to the country, then they are big chances that you have heard about it. To an outsider, it might not seem that different from slots, but there are huge differences. Pachinko is like a hybrid game.

Considering Japan doesn’t have even one casino, Pachinko is the closest thing that the country has to slots.


Now, the difference between pachinko and slots is in the gameplay as well as the skills required to play them. You might know how slots work – you set up your bet, spin the reels, and hope for the best outcome. It can be called a game based on pure luck. Pachinko isn’t entirely a luck based game. Have you ever played pinball? Pachinko is somewhat like that gameplay wise, and winning wise it is like slots. In pachinko, you shoot a ball into the field of play, and there’s usually a slots reel in the middle. Assuming one of your balls lands in the right spot, the reels start spinning, and you might win a prize.

When you see how the game works, you will realize that unlike slots, what you do does affect the game. In slots, you just spin the reels, the pressure, the strength you use has nothing to do with the outcome, but that is not the case in Pachinko. You control the velocity of the ball, so that means you control where the ball is going to go. Which in turn means that it affects the outcome of the game. Slots require no skills whatsoever, even with the new skill-based bonus games, your skills can only help so much.

In a land-based setting, the ambiance of slots and pachinko is totally different. Slots are played in casinos where a lot of other gambling games are played as well. But, Japan doesn’t have casinos yet so pachinko is hosted in an arcade or parlor.

In Japan, オンラインカジノ スロット (online casino slots) are really popular because of the lack of casinos. Pachinko can be played online like slots too, but it misses the real essence of the game. The copycat online version made doesn’t capture the complexity quite well.

Gambling wasn’t always legal in Japan, although at the end of 2017 it was ruled to be. Japan is yet to have a casino. Online casinos being legalized might take more time.

But how does Pachinko get off the hook?

Loopholes are at play here. Pachinko is presented as more of a fun arcade game than gambling. You don’t earn money directly, you earn little steel balls that you can exchange for cash at specialized facilities.

Because the online casino industry cannot be run on the grounds of Japan yet. The Japanese people playing on international online casinos do not have to pay taxes for the winnings. The pachinko business, on the other hand, does pay taxes.

Japanese people undeniably love this game, it’s an alternative Japanese gambling phenomenon. If you are a slots player, then we would tell you to try this game out definitely.

About Mohit Tater

Mohit is the co-founder and editor of Entrepreneurship Life, a place where entrepreneurs, start-ups, and business owners can find wide ranging information, advice, resources, and tools for starting, running, and growing their businesses.

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