Japan’s pachinko parlours see opportunities in casino opening

    Japan’s pachinko parlours, which have long dominated the country’s gaming industry, see a new opportunity for growth in casinos as their traditional business declines.
    “Pachinko companies are feeling a sense of crisis that they will go into decline unless they do something,” Bloomberg cited Daigo Fukunaga, a senior analyst at Advanced Research Japan, as saying in a feature on the industry. Casinos would be “a big new market” to pachinko companies, he said.
    The report said revenue generated by Japan’s pachinko parlours is about $187 billion, while Kinbasha Gaming International puts combined annual revenue from pachinko and pachislot parlours at $234 billion, according to data on its website.
    However, attendance is on the decline and has sunk more than 60 percent since the mid-1990s.
    Pachinko companies are now arguing that their deep roots in Japanese culture make them ideal partners for major foreign operators, such as MGM Resorts and Las Vegas Sands, who are seeking a license to operate in Japan.
    Lawmakers began debating a bill that would legalize casinos in Japan in June, though the Diet session ran out before the legislation could be passed. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said he hopes for passage in the Fall.
    The report cited Konami Corp CEO Satoshi Sakamoto as saying that Japanese casinos could be a turning point for the company. It already makes slot machines and other equipment for LVS and MGM in Las Vegas and would tie up with both if approached.
    Maruhan, Japan’s biggest pachinko operator, is also interested in running casinos, it said.