Get Answers to the Question "Is Pachinko Gambling?"

In casinos throughout Japan, there is one game that truly stands out and attracts foreigners like no other. It is known as Pachinko, and it is widely regarded as a cross between a slot and pinball machine. In this country alone, there are more than two million consoles that are in use at any given point in time. But, is Pachinko gambling or is it just fun?

Where the Money Goes

In this game, before you can play, you have to buy a set of metal balls in much the same way as you would if you were going to play pinball in any arcade in the world. Once this is done, you will put the balls in the machine and use a plunger to control the speed and the force with which it is injected into the playing field. The idea is to get the balls to fall into the marked holes in order to win a prize, all the while avoiding the nails, called "bukkomi" in the native Japanese, which will cause them to go off-kilter.

Skill or Luck?

With all of this in mind, then, is Pachinko gambling? Some people believe that anything dominated by mostly skill isn't gambling at all, but there are others believe that even in a game like Pachinko, a certain amount of luck must still dictate where the ball lands since it is impossible to completely control the physics inside the machine. In fact, gambling is completely illegal in Japan but people still flock to millions of these machines all the time.

For the most part, the answer to the question, "is Pachinko gambling?" is a resounding no. Individuals must buy the balls in an effort to win more which can then be traded for gifts and prizes but never real cash. As such, gambling isn't the right word - this is a game more like those found in arcades than in casinos.

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