Efforts for Suppressing the Gambling Urge

“Yu-Pachi” and “1-Yen Pachinko,” and “Choi-Pachi”

The pachinko industry has developed fun and convenient amusement facilities. However, some people become addicted to pachinko/pachislo as the games strongly stimulate an urge to gamble, leading to problems. Recently, the pachinko industry has been actively taking measures to suppress the urge to playa pachinko/pachislo so that people can enjoy pachinko/pachislo without overspending their budgets in their free time.

One of the measures is to develop a pachinko machine that makes winning easy and has a higher oatari (jackpot) payout rate.

“Yu-pachi” was launched in 2006 as an inexpensive “lite” version of pachinko/pachislo through cooperation of industry organizations. Yu-pachi is a machine with a higher oatari payout rate of 1/100 or more. Probably, many players have seen a gaming machine with a “遊” (Yu) over a cherry blossom on its board at pachinko parlors. There is a Yu-pachi section in many pachinko parlors.

The Daikoku Denki Strategic Information System (DK-SIS) managed by Daikoku Denki Co., Ltd., which develops, manufactures and sells computer devices for pachinko parlors, collects data from pachinko parlors that introduced their computer systems. According to that data, nearly one-quarter of them had Yu-pachi machines installed in their 4-JPY ball lending sections as of the end of 2016.

At almost exactly the same time as the advent of Yu-pachi, some pachinko parlors began taking action to suppress the urge to gamble. It is generally known as “1-yen pachinko”. It refers to lending balls at 1 JPY per ball, which was previously 4 JPY per ball. However, it was not a nation-wide trend at that time. As late as 2007, it spread throughout the country.

According to DK-SIS, pachinko machines designed for lending balls at a low price accounted for more than 10% of the total in 2008. Similarly, pachislo machines designed for lending tokens at low price also accounted for more than 10% of the total in 2012. As the end of 2016, pachinko/pachislo machines designed for lending balls/tokens accounted, respectively, for about 35% and 15% of all the pachinko/pachislo machines installed across the country. Recently, it has become common practice to lend balls at a price of 2.5 or 1.6 JPY per ball or even at 0.5 JPY per ball. Tokens are lent at 8 or 2 JPY per token. Nowadays, pachinko parlors lend balls/tokens at different prices to attract different kinds of patrons.

Recently, “Choi-pachi” has come into existence; it is characterized by a further decrease in the urge to gamble. Its oatari payout rate is about 1/40, which corresponds to more than one-half of that of Yu-pachi. In addition, Choi-pachi will give back 5 or more balls if a ball enters the start chucker. Since it is even more fun than “Yu-pachi”, some industry organizations are making active efforts to promote it.

Furthermore, they have also been making efforts to decrease the urge to gamble in pachinko/pachislo. The lower limit for the oatari payout rate in pachinko has increased in a stepwise manner, i.e., from 1/500 to 1/400 to 1/320, over the past dozen years or so. In pachislo, the number of tokens that can be obtained in a single ART game has decreased to moderate fluctuations in the number of obtainable tokens, which allows the player to enjoy pachislo without worrying about overspending.