RAYMOND - When I was young and single, I did far more than my share of heavy gambling. Some slots, but mostly sitting at a table playing cards. In Yokohama, I played for years in an Army NCO club that was adjacent to the R&R center for military personnel stationed in Korea, but came to the R&R for 10 day vacations. In Turkey, I played heavy with the Air Force personnel at several locations. I’ve been in most casino locations of the world, including the famous San Remo, in Italy.
In Japan, although gambling is against the law, the country is full of “Pacinko Parlors”. Pacinko is a form of pin-ball like slot machines, but you play only with balls. You insert a ball, pull the lever, and when you win, various amounts of balls fall out into a tray, depending on your win. You win only balls, no cash. You turn the balls into the Pacinko Parlor operator, who gives you “goldish” looking tokens for your balls. You then have to take these tokens to the shop next door, and that shopkeeper buys the tokens from you, giving you the cash. These shop-owners are the same people that own the Pacinko Parlor, but it’s a different business. By the Pacinko Parlor itself not giving you the cash, it circumvents the government’s
no gambling laws. I’ve been there, done that, many times. The sad part is, as you are enjoying the fun of playing with the “pin-ball” type balls, the machine is taking your balls, in essence, your losing money. Living with the native Japanese families, I saw many poor families severely hurt by playing Pacinko.
I served twice as “the Navy representative” on the Board of Directors of Non-Commissioned Officers Clubs. An Army board in Chitose, Japan, and an Air Force board in Karamursel, Turkey. In the four or five years total that I served, back in the 50’s and 60’s on these two boards, I don’t believe one monthly meeting went by that a spouse didn’t come to the meeting begging for help with their spouse with a gambling addiction that was ruining their lives. Yes, the Navy has never allowed gambling in their clubs.