Sega Sammy approval could bring Japanese favorite pachinko to Las Vegas casinos

  • Pachinko is a popular Japanese pinball/slot game hybrid
  • Sega Sammy deal allows developer to distribute in Nevada

The popular Japanese arcade slot pachinko could be coming to casino floors in Las Vegas, the Las Vegas Review Journal reports.

The Nevada Gaming Board has approved a license bid by Japanese gaming brand Sega which may allow the video game company to develop and distribute casino games for the Las Vegas market.

Sega has released a number of popular pachinko games in Japan, where the pinball-style slot is widely available.

Pachinko makes up approximately 4% of the entire Japanese GDP, according to estimates and players spend an average of JPY 58,000 ($515) on the game each year.

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And as countless Japanese-developed video games have been popular in the West – think Mario and Zelda – then why not pachinko?

How to play pachinko

Pachinko machines are similar to slot machines, but they include an element of skill as well as luck.

Players use a lever to propel ball bearings around the machine’s playing field, winning extra balls and cash prizes if they can land their ball in one of the win holes.

The game is popular in Japan, where casino betting was outlawed until recently, but it has not really taken off in Western casinos.

Similar to Pachinko is Pachislo, a slot game with a skill-based twist. While players spin the reels and land combinations like a standard fruit machine, the skill lies in stopping the reels manually at just the right time. Pachislo and Pachinko are often offered together in gaming parlors, bars and train stations around Japan.

Modern pachinko meets console gaming

While traditional gaming machines are usually activated manually, there has been a recent surge in electronic forms of the game.

These digital pachinko-style machines often feature characters from well-known movie and game franchises. Leading gaming companies have been diversifying into gambling equipment, and Sega is one of those making the move from consoles to casinos.

Konami is another Japanese company that straddles both video and casino games.

In addition to digital pachinko and pachislo, Sega is expected to bring video baccarat to casino floors.

The gaming brand has developed its own innovative baccarat-based game for electronic terminals.

The gaming innovators are also likely to branch out into skill-based gaming and eSports, after the Nevada Gaming Board moved to authorize a wider range of skill-based gambling games in the state.

“It’s a result of what we’ve done over the past two years, changing our laws to provide different kinds of gaming, including skill-based,” said the Board’s chairman A.G. Burnett.

The Board was unanimous in approving the license for two Sega subsidiaries: Sega Sammy Holdings Inc. and Sega Sammy Creation Inc. In two weeks, the Nevada Gaming Commission will make a final decision on granting the license on November 16, with the motion tipped to pass with ease.

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