Despite having no land-based casinos in the country (yet), Japan has a pretty healthy gambling scene, a fact that can be largely attributed to the popularity of pachinko. The pinball-like slots game is a national obsession in the Rising Sun and the recent sales numbers released by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry in Tokyo shows that there’ still a healthy market for the game in its native land.
In April of this year, sales from pachinko reached 379.727 billion yen, the fourth straight month that revenues have increased significantly based on year-on-year numbers. Comparing April 2013’s sales figures to April 2012, total sales from pachinko machines improved to 265.9 percent, a trend that began this year with the introduction of more pachinko machines in the country.
Since the calendar turned to 2013, the number of pachinko machines have grown significantly from 167,438 in December 2012 to 613,159 in April 2013. The massive uptick in machines have also increased the game’s sales numbers across the board for the entire year. January alone saw pachinko sales reach 415.7 billion yen, which is about $4.371 billion based on current exchange rates. It’s since plateaued to 367.3 billion ($3.8 billion) in February, 398.7 billion ($4.2 billion) in March, and 379.727 billion ($4.0 billion) in April.
The bigger sales numbers could also be attributed to the rise of new pachinko parlors throughout the country. In December 2012, Japan only had 390 establishments offering pachinko games. In January 2013, that number jumped to 1,219 and in the four months since, has steadily increased to 1,226 as of April 2013, a 276.8 percent increase from its numbers in April of last year.
All this is far from a series of coincidences. It’s simple math, really. Having more establishments offering pachinko machines have done wonders in boosting its sales numbers in the country. And with more steady growth expected in the coming months, you can likewise expect the healthy amount of revenues to continue coming into the country.