The question “Why is gambling illegal?” is a difficult one to answer. On one hand, people of all ages gamble – some more than others. Gambling has been part and parcel of the society since its inception, and people from all walks of life have indulged in it at one time or another. Today, it is considered a form of social activity that is not as dangerous or harmful as it was once thought to be.
There are several different types of gambling that are illegal in Japan. The first is referred to as “pachinko.” This is the familiar roulette wheel, which has been a fixture on the blackjack tables at integrated resorts and bars for decades. Pachinko is closely associated with the image of Japan, which is commonly associated with wealth and opulence. Consequently, it was very important for Japanese citizens to keep their winnings to a minimum.
“Pachinko” is also the term used for lottery games, although the rules and procedures of the latter vary from country to country. A great number of laymen consider lottery and “lottery” to be synonymous terms. However, in Japan, the word “lottery” is used to refer to organized gambling. “Pachinko,” on the other hand, is the term used for the specific game of pachinko, which is a game of chance with progressive jackpot sizes. The word “pachinko” literally means “wheel,” so the operation of “lottery” can be linked to the earlier operation of “wheel” in the traditional Japanese courtrooms.
It was not until the Meiji Period that pachinko became the gambling activity it is today. This was a time when gambling was completely banned in Japan, except for extremely small scale localized gambling events. During this time, pachinko parlors began to appear in local parlor houses all over Japan, and “pachinko” was finally brought up in public through word-of-mouth. These pachinko parlors had special large screens installed above the gambling table. Every winning bet was then electronically deposited into the corresponding keno bank account, giving every participant a share of the winning amount.
Gambling has become a huge industry in Japan, even precluding the closure of many of its traditional villages and town squares. Producers of video games, movies, television, and food have made a fortune off of the growing legalized gambling industry. As a result, the government has become increasingly hostile towards the widespread commercialization of Japan, and attempts to enforce some form of ban on gambling have met with limited success. Since integrated resorts have appeared all over Japan, the issue of why is gambling illegal has become much more complicated.
Although the legal aspects of why is gambling illegal are complicated, the most prevalent reason for the legalized gambling that takes place in Japan is the fact that it serves as a huge source of income for local municipalities. In many municipalities, the profits from pachinko parlors help finance municipal services, such as public transportation and parks. Without these tax revenues, many small towns and villages cannot survive. In many instances, the presence of pachinko parlors helps to reduce the crime rate that is associated with small town community.
In response to the question of why is gambling legal, integrated resorts have provided an answer by offering a legal alternative to the traditional Japanese gambling that took place before they were established. Since integrated resorts started operating in Japan, they have been accused of preying on the ignorance of locals by not informing them of the differences between traditional pachinko machines and the more modern and legalized pachinko machines that are now available. By not informing the local population about the difference, these establishments have been accused of running a form of legalized gambling without any governmental regulation or supervision. Since many local municipalities do not allow gambling within their jurisdiction, the issue of why is gambling legal and why is it illegal, is a very complicated one.
The truth of the matter is that there is no simple answer to the question, “Why is gambling illegal?” But, the simple answer is that local municipalities, concerned about the loss of tax revenue and the lack of services offered by legalized gambling facilities, have placed limits on their operations. Since integrated resorts help to fill the void left by local casinos by providing entertainment that many local residents find lacking in their area, the laws surrounding gambling are based on economics and quality of life rather than purely on legality and morals.