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  • Writer's picturePhillip Radcliffe

The History of Slot Machines

(Japanese Translation below)

By Zen Maruyama

The first slot machine was created in 1899 by Charles Fey in the United States. It is thought that the United States military brought slot machines to Okinawa after the end of the war in 1945, which was the beginning of slot machines in Japan. Later, in 1954 an attempt was made to introduce slot machines in mainland Japan as games that could be exchanged for prizes which are redeemable for cash, but this failed because the police considered slot machines to be gambling machines.  

Even after the slot machines were later changed to “Olympia Machines” for Japan and licensed, they were installed almost exclusively in Okinawa for a while, and it is reported that Okinawan slots are still treated as a special kind of “Oki-slot” because of this history. The first officially approved slot machine in Japan was the “Olympia Game Machine,” which was introduced in 1964.

However, this machine was banned by the Metropolitan Police Department on the grounds that it constituted gambling, but “technical intervention” was brought in, and a business license was granted on the grounds that there was no evidence to show that it was a gambling machine. There were no rules or regulations for the first generation of pachinko and slot machines called Zero-gouki (there are now up to 6 generations).

Later, slot machines called Ichi-gouki (second generation machine) was developed, but its high gambling nature and convenience were regulated, and as the third and fourth generation of slot machines (No. 2 and 3) were developed, the rough specifications of big wins and big losses become less extreme. Currently, the mainstream slot machines are No. 6.5 machines, which are less regulated than the earlier 6 machines. 

The number of pachinko parlors nationwide declined from 18,000 in 1995 to 8,500 in 2022 due to a decrease in the number of customers. The biggest reason for the decrease is that smoking is no longer allowed at Pachinko Parlors. 


丸山 禅






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