Japan Data

Pachinko Industry a Shrinking Presence

Economy

Total pachinko sales have fallen by nearly 20% over the past four years.

Sales volume among pachinko operators has been steadily falling in Japan. Overall sales fell successively from ¥19.5 trillion in 2014 to ¥18.5 trillion in 2015, ¥17.7 trillion in 2016, and ¥16.5 trillion in 2017. Although the decline slowed somewhat with sales of ¥15.8 trillion in 2018, total volume has fallen by nearly 20% in just four years.

Factors underlying the decline include sluggish overall consumption in recent years and the diversification of entertainment options, as well as tightened government regulations on pachinko machines with a high reliance on luck and the numbers of winning balls (dedama), which have led customers to choose other gambling options.

In 2018, just 111 pachinko operators out of 1,892, or 5.9% had increased sales volume; whereas 1,024 or 54.1% had roughly unchanged sales, and 757, or 40.0%, saw their sales decline. The number of operators with annual rises in sales turnover has been falling steadily, with 184 achieving this in 2015, 144 in 2016, and 118 in 2017.

In 2018, 26 pachinko operators went out of business, with combined liabilities of ¥11.12 billion. Bankruptcies have risen over the past two years, with 21 bankruptcies in 2017, as compared to 13 in 2016. Already eight pachinko operators have gone out of business as of April 30, 2019, three more than the number of bankruptcies during the same period of the previous year.

By sales volume, operators with sales of ¥1 billion–¥5 billion constituted the largest group, with 780. These are small-scale businesses that generally run two or three pachinko parlors each. In contrast, the pachinko operators with sales volume of ¥100 billion or more numbered just 22, or 1.2% of the total number of operators.

Pachinko Operators by Sales Volume

Sales volume Number of companies Proportion
Under ¥100 million 27 1.4%
¥100 million–¥1 billion 560 29.6%
¥1 billion–¥5 billion 780 41.2%
¥5 billion–¥10 billion 221 11.7%
¥10 billion–¥50 billion 253 13.4%
¥50 billion–¥100 billion 29 1.5%
Over ¥100 billion 22 1.2%
Total 1,892 100%

Compiled by Nippon.com based on a survey by Teikoku Databank.

(Translated from Japanese. Banner photo © haku/Pixta.)

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