Number of Pachinko Parlor Operators Declined by 221 from Preceding Year to 2,577 and Number of Parlor Parlors Dropped by 608 to 8,778 as of End of December 2020
Yano Research Institute (the President, Takashi Mizukoshi) has conducted a survey on pachinko parlors and the operators, and has found out the numbers of operators and parlors as of end of December 2020.
The number of pachinko parlor operators was 2,577 as of the end of December 2020, a decline by 221 companies from the previous year. Decrease in the number of pachinko parlor operators had been small during the period between 2008 and 2012, but it has become larger since 2013, with 100 companies disappearing each year. This declining tendency has been kept for more than 15 years.
Although the number of business withdrawals was less in 2019 compared to 2018, it increased again in 2020. It is assumed that this is due to heavy expenses for replacing gaming machines to less-profitable types to comply with new regulations, and to downturn in the number of parlor visitors during COVID-19 calamity. Small-size companies possessing one or two parlors were particularly affected. The number of company groups, consolidated by the capital or the same management, has become 1,978, down by 163 groups during the period between the year-ends of 2019 and 2020.
The number of pachinko parlors nationwide was 8,778 as of the end of December 2020, a decrease by 608 parlors from the preceding year. Total of 2,215 parlors have disappeared during the past five years since 2015. The reason of the decline in the number of pachinko parlors and the operators has been the same as previously, mainly because of business withdrawals of small-size pachinko parlor operators possessing one or two parlors.
Newly Opened Pachinko Parlors Increased Slightly to 126 during 2020
The number of pachinko parlors newly opened in 2020 was 126, increased by 18 parlors from the previous year. Although the number of newly opened parlors has been diminishing every year since 2013, with 2019 recording the worst since 2010, it made an upward turn in 2020. When observing the newly opened parlors by region, the number of parlors in Tokyo increased by 6 from the preceding year, while that in Osaka remained almost flat and those in Aichi fell by 6. In terms of metropolitan area, Tokyo witnessed a slight concentration.
Amid harsh surrounding business environment such as weighty expenses for replacement of gaming machines and decline in the number of parlor visitors during COVID-19 crisis, pachinko parlor operators face difficulty making huge investments to open large-sized parlors with over 1,000 gaming machines. As a result, the number of newly opened parlors with over 1,000 gaming machines in 2020 dropped to a record-low, only 5 parlors.
While the revision of regulations governing pachinko and pachislot machines that has been in effect in February 2018 requires replacement of gaming machine models that comply with the new standards by November 2021 (*the resolution adopted by ‘Pachinko/Pachislot Industry for 21st Century”, an alliance of industry unions), because the replacement expenses weigh heavily on business, some pachinko parlor operators have started giving up the replacement and withdrawing from the business. Even major pachinko parlor operators have streamlined their business by closing some unprofitable parlors that have little chance of cost recovery.
In addition to the replacement expenses as mentioned, the market was seriously impacted by COVID-19 in 2020, which diminished the number of parlor visitors. The decrease in the number of parlor operators and pachinko parlors is expected to accelerate for the time being.
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