In manga about gambling, there is often a character with tremendous ability who is known as a substitute for a yakuza who gambles in place of the yakuza, but was there ever an actual yakuza?
The character, who is a virtual youtuber (VTuber) under the name “Jail Taro,” which refers to a person who has been in prison many times, and is himself a former yakuza, talks about the yakuza’s gambling situation.
“In the old days, yakuza used to open betting halls where they actually played gambling games. It varied from region to region where they played the traditional Japanese games such as Chohan Hakucho, Grasshopper Maki, and Shomenpiki, etc. Basically, it was a place where katagi-gi people could have fun. It was a place for katagi people to have fun, so we had the skill to operate the game where the customers either lost a little or let them win occasionally. So there is no such thing as a substitute without losing. We would lose customers.”
He had tremendous skill, but he was good at adjusting the amount of losses so that customers could enjoy themselves and come back to the gambling hall the next time.
Such adjustments might seem to reduce the income of the yakuza, but what makes it work is the money they pay to the operator, known as terasen, or tera sen.
The system is such that the yakuza pay a certain percentage of their winnings to the house, so if they continue to play for a long time, the house will always win. So there was a custom of giving a small amount of money to the losers in the form of a footnote at the end of the game.
If the system is such that the player absolutely wins, then there is no need for a substitute player, but it is difficult to make the game enjoyable for customers and win for the player at the level of a substitute player.
“Basically, when we open a betting hall, we stay up all night,” he said. It’s really hard work for the daiuchi because they have to stay focused throughout that time. Once it was decided that a betting hall was to be held, the daiuchi of the group I was in had to thoroughly control everything from the amount of sleep they got to what they ate that day. Some of them also used stimulants and other drugs in order to concentrate for long periods of time.
Perhaps because of these circumstances, there was also a staff member in charge of administering methamphetamine at the gambling hall. When a customer asked for a shot, the staff member would inquire which arm to inject the drug, how much to inject, and so on.
The amount of money spent at one betting booth was usually between 3 million and 5 million yen, so customers would get very excited. In addition, it was possible to borrow money at the gambling halls. The interest rate varied from group to group, but there were some that charged as much as 10% per night.
The yakuza learned how to do business by lending money to the president of the company, which led to the yakuza’s current involvement in various types of businesses.
Gambling is basically designed so that the guru wins. It is probably best to just enjoy it in moderation and quit betting in a way that could destroy you.