A person involved in the “Reiwa’s Dark Slot Machine” revealed the shocking inside story of the “Reiwa’s Dark Slot Machine”: “It is highly organized” and “There was a detective among the customers. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

A person involved in the “Reiwa’s Dark Slot Machine” revealed the shocking inside story of the “Reiwa’s Dark Slot Machine”: “It is highly organized” and “There was a detective among the customers.

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It is said that black market slots still exist in many parts of Japan. In Kabukicho, for example, about 10 stores are said to be in operation.

Amagasaki City in Hyogo Prefecture has long been known in the pachislot industry as the “mecca of underhandedness. On June 13, eight people, including a manager of a black market slot machine, were arrested for operating an illegal slot machine store in this Amagasaki city and allowing people to gamble on a regular basis. The Amagasaki Minami Police Station of the Hyogo Prefectural Police and other authorities seized 97 slots and other items, and are investigating the full extent of the operation.

Dark slots still exist in entertainment districts throughout Japan. This year, there has been a string of busts in Okayama and Chiba prefectures, and in July, eight people were caught red-handed in Nagano Prefecture. Among them were members of the Yamaguchigumi, a designated crime syndicate, and they are suspected of being a source of funds for antisocial organizations. Mr. A, who was in and out of a black market slot machine in Amagasaki City, Hyogo Prefecture, revealed the latest on such illegal gambling (all lines in parentheses are by Mr. A).

The black market slot parlor was a new parlor that had just opened three months earlier. It feels as if it was picked up right after it opened, but there was also a black market slots store right under the nose of the one that was picked up, which had been there for a year and a half. In fact, this store is the same store.

About three months ago, I received a short message from an unknown cell phone number saying that the store had moved to a new location. It is normal for black market slots to relocate because they are afraid of being caught, but this time the police seemed to have found out, and I heard that is how they got caught.

The building where the black market slot machines that Mr. A frequented are located. The building where the black market slot machines that Mr. A frequented are located is a normal commercial building, and they operate quietly without putting up a signboard.

Even after they were caught, they reopened in a different location. The reason why black market slot machines cannot be eradicated is that they have enthusiastic fans from some quarters. In the early ’00s, Type 4 machines, known as ATs and STs, with their explosive continuous-changing action, swept the halls, and anecdotes such as “I bought 1 million yen” and “I lost 200,000 yen” were commonplace.

Although times have changed, there are still many customers who fondly remember the days of the Type 4 machines and go back to the dark slot machines. In June of this year, the existence of an under-the-hood slot machine in Kabukicho that operated at a high rate of 500 yen per medal, which is “25 times” the rate of ordinary slots, became a topic of conversation.

The store offered three rates, ranging from the standard 20 yen per medal to 40 yen and 100 yen per medal. In terms of the number of machines, there were 15 machines that charged 20 yen, 50 machines that charged 40 yen, and 20 machines that charged 100 yen. There was also one baccarat and one blackjack table. The clientele was varied.

They ranged from semi-legal types to local business executives to civil engineering and construction workers. What surprised me the most was that there was even a detective among them (laughs). It could have been an informal investigation, but I wonder how they did it… Some of them won as much as 1 million yen in one day, while others lost 40,000 to 500,000 yen in a day.

Users receive event information from the mailis on line. Lotteries are sometimes held for popular models.

The company does not tout its products as it used to do in the past.

We didn’t catch people or spread flyers,” he said. There used to be some black market slot machines in Osaka’s Minami district, but they don’t take that kind of risk anymore. The stores I used to frequent paid an introduction fee of 5,000 to 20,000 yen per person to bring in a customer.

They also gave away 5,000 yen worth of free coins to new customers who came to the store. To register as a member, you had to have a cell phone number, and when you came to the store, you had to press the doorbell, and then you had to be confirmed by phone before you could finally enter. This method has not changed much since the Reiwa era.

Perhaps because the risk of detection is low with analog methods, according to Mr. A, there were no major changes in the black market slots industry after the transition from Heisei to Reiwa. Still, there were many minor changes, such as the introduction of the mail-order function on line.

He said the hourly wage for staff was 1,500 yen. The store was open from six in the evening until noon the next day. I don’t know exactly how much money they made each day, but my guess is that they made 1.5 million yen a day. A profit of 45 million yen a month would be pretty good.

The world of illegal gambling is a place where dizzying sums of money stir. The fact that customers continue to come to the casinos in search of high returns has not changed, even after Reiwa.

Mr. A told us the following in closing: “I got along well with the clerk, and he taught me a lot of things. It seems that the headquarters of the store that was busted was located in Yokohama. He told me that there were also stores in Yokohama, Amagasaki, and Okinawa, and that the Himeji store was scheduled to open soon. If they are organized, it doesn’t matter so much if one of the stores gets busted.

Even just using the black market is subject to arrest on charges of gambling and habitual gambling. It would be best to avoid going in and out of these establishments out of a short-term desire for money.

  • PHOTO Kei Kato

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