Japan’s pachinko revenue drops 10.1 percent in July

    Revenue from Japan’s pachinko parlors continued its downward trend, falling 10.1 percent in July year on year, according to data released by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.Total sales in July were 372.3 billion yen ($3.5 billion). That’s slightly higher than the 356.9 billion yen posted in June, which nevertheless was down 6.6 percent year-on-year.Sales in March 2014 were 400.5 billion yen, the only month so far this year to post an increase, gaining 0.5 percent.In July, the number of machines in use remained very similar to the previous month, with the Ministry recording 627,076 machines – a 0.3 percent drop. The number of parlors dropped by just two to 1,243. Employee numbers remained constant at 33,005 a drop of just 35 from the June month.Once a national obsession in Japan, revenue at the country’s pachinko parlors has been on a downward trend. The industry is seen as facing major challenges with the upcoming legalization of casinos and the increasing use of mobile phones for gaming.Some pachinko companies are eying the casino market as a potential opportunity, with Dynam Japan Holdings having already said it’s interested in becoming involved in casinos.Pachinko parlor operators have also been updating their offerings to cater for changing tastes, offering smoke-free zones and facilities designed to appeal to women and a younger crowd.