Everything to Know about Japanese Gambling Games

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Japanese people have good taste in gambling games; the country has some favorites and is now witnessing growth in the online world too. A few years ago, Japan restricted gambling; however, this is gradually changing as the world is becoming digital, and so is the love for gambling.

More and more Japanese people want to look online to satisfy their gambling needs. There are many Japanese-friendly sites on the internet so that people can access them from wherever they are.

History of Gambling in Japan

Japanese gambling games are a centuries-old form of entertainment. Among these was an old gambling game, Cho-Han Bakuchi, which is also known as Cho-Han in simpler terms. This was the go-to gambling game in older Japan.

Cho-Han was run by bakuto; in other words, gamblers dated back from the 18th to 20th centuries. However, you will still find Cho-Han popular among Japan’s underworlds called Yakuza, who have a criminal background.

How is Cho-Han Played?

Just like any other gambling game, Cho-Han comes with two standard-six dice. The dice are added to a cup and shaken well before hitting the surface. The players will gamble on the dice numbers. A player may choose an even number (Cho) or an odd number (Han).

The dealer usually sits across the players, often without a shirt, which symbolizes transparency. This is to avoid any accusation of the dealer cheating with the players; however, sometimes some dealers like to flaunt their tattoos, too.

Japan Today with Gambling Laws

The country is moving toward easing its restrictions on gambling; however, it is not fully there yet. In 2018, Japan allowed some jurisdictions, such as resorts, to start legal casinos. Still, in general, the country does not allow casino gambling to a large extent; hence, it will be a while before casinos are as popular in Japan as they are in the United States.

More about Pachinko, Known as the Japanese King of Gambling

If anyone thoroughly enjoys gambling, it is the Japanese people, especially back in the day when the government was super strict and imposed heavy restrictions on gambling. Their love for gambling didn’t die with those restrictions; instead, it only blossomed as they found ways around it, and one of the Japanese gambling games that came to life was Pachinko.

Pachinko is a name derived from the sounds the Pachinko machine makes when the game is played. The sound sort of resembles that of the highly popular pinball game machine.

The Pachinko machine now comes in the form of modern devices that have both a slot machine and an arcade game, so people have much to choose from.

 Why Is Pachinko Not Exactly a Gamble as per Japanese Laws?

Pachinko is a gamble; there is no doubt about that, but somehow, some clever Japanese people were able to come up with a loophole only they could figure out in the midst of restrictions imposed on the general public.

Gambling was forbidden for cash; that is one thing everyone has always known. However, steel balls are not cash, are they? In Pachinko, you win steel balls rather than cash, and they are not exchangeable with cash, or at least, not directly. There is one loophole that does not bring trouble to the Japanese people.

However, while the steel balls may be worthless, you can exchange the balls for prize tokens. Those prize tokens are precious because anyone can exchange them for cash, and the exchange is usually conducted outside the gambling resort. Sometimes the exchange can even happen next door; hence, the game is gambling without being named.

Who Plays Pachinko?

One of the most popular Japanese gambling games, Pachinko is everyone’s favorite. So you don’t just find hard or addicted gamblers in the queue. Rather, you will find Japan’s general population near the Pachinko parlors because this is a source of entertainment for most.

You will see a long line of people waiting to play this game. The most shocking part is that most people are either salaried or working staff. Sometimes, even homemakers love playing Pachinko to earn some extra cash.

Takarakuji – A Gamble in Japan

Another popular Japanese gambling game in the country is Takarakuji. It is very easy to play; hence, if someone is new to gambling, they won’t take much time to figure this one out. In this gamble, you only have to scratch cards, and you can buy these cards from anywhere in the country.

There are three types of Takarakuji. The first one is where all the numbers are already given on the ticket; the second game consists of a guessing game where the player needs to guess the numbers hidden to win the lottery. The third type happens in a booth every once a year; however, children under 17 are not allowed to play it.


Japan has extensive gambling roots in its history, and its people have a special love for Japanese gambling games. Cho-Han was one of the first gambling games in the 18th century and still is played in some parts of Japan.


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