Pachislo in the US
From my research it appears that these machines have only been getting imported into the US starting about 10-15 years ago. Prior to that their fates are unknown to this author. In Japan, the casinos are legally mandated to remove the machines from operation after 2-3 years (the exact number of years is unclear). There is no aftermarket for these machines in Japan, so I can only make the guess that prior to coming here they used to be destroyed.
There’s a lot of confusion on who exactly was the first US importer of these machines, but one thing is obvious: this has become a hot hobby. Go ahead: go to Google or Ebay and type in Pachislo or Pachislot (I have found both to be acceptable spelling on the web in the US), and see just how many importers and resellers there are for these machines.
Prices vary wildly so shop carefully. I have seen machines go from a low of $195 to a high of $495. for the exact same machine. Some basic machines sell for as low as $69.00; but beware: these machines are heavy and will cost approx. $70 to ship, so read your shipping costs fine print carefully! (i.e.- your $50 EBAY win may actually cost you $120 after shipping).
When the machines are imported from Japan they’re packed tight into cargo containers (each as big as a tractor trailer!) literally to the ceiling from front-to- back….over 400 machines in each container.
Here are some photos from a great importer site (Sanko Industries based in Japan) showing their method of packing/shipping to the USA for wholesalers —for more photos, please visit their site.
Personally my first machine was Metal Slug which I purchased from Stealth Amusement’s eBay auction. I was so impressed with the quality and fun of the machine I literally purchased a virtually brand new Tekken Pachislo machine the following week from Stealth (which happens to be based in Rochester, NY). I will be reviewing my ordering experience with Stealth in a follow up article coming very soon, but suffice to say that they were excellent to deal with!
Stealth Home Amusement Interview
I recently had a brief conversation with Milt Cohen, the owner of Stealth Home Amusements, who was kind enough to share with me some of photos you see in this article in addition to his time to answer some of my questions below.
When did you first learn about Pachislo machines?
“While killing some time searching through eBay.”
What interested you in importing them?
“I was purchasing them through an importer and reselling them. My volume got big enough and I wanted to bring my unit cost down so I started to make some Japanese contacts. Next thing you know, I've got 450 machines at my door step!”
On average how long does it take to refurbish a machine?
“2 to 3 hours per machine.”
What types of parts are refurbished?
“Everything. We gut the machines and paint and sand the cabinets. Take everything out and clean all the internal components. We put them back together again and test the machines. We check bulbs, sound and everything else. Then we have 1 guy that does nothing but Quality Control. So he checks the machines again.”
What are some the technical challenges in fixing or refurbishing a machine?
“Not too many challenges, my techs are very good at what they do and they help each other out. Many of the components are swappable from other similar machines and worst case, I've got good contacts in Japan, so they can send me parts if I need them.”
How many machines do you have to go through before you find one that’s good enough to sell?
“We try to sell everything that comes in. What doesn't pass Quality Control goes into the scratch and dent area.”
How reliable are these machines?
“Very reliable. I couldn't offer a lifetime warranty if they weren't.”
How many unique models are there?
How often do new models come out?
“It seems like monthly.”
Are LCD screens a recent innovation?
“Yes, within the last 2 years.”
How popular are these machines?
Why are US slot machines so much more expensive in comparison to Pachislo machines?
“Long answer, but simple answer is the plastic and wood cases and materials vs. the way the American machines are built.”
What are some of the hottest machines/trends you’re seeing now for Pachislo machines?
“Large screen video displays.”
Conclusion of Part 1
If you would like to learn more about purchasing these machines I strongly recommend giving the Stealth Home Amusement site a try, and be sure to tell him that RetroBlast sent ya!
Stealth Home Amusement is offering a great 10% discount on all machines (including sale machines!) if you mention RetroBlast when you place an order!
If you would like to visit a fantastic, in depth forum I have to recommend visiting www.pachitalk.com. They have a comprehensive site with a ton of great information on folks like you who own and love Pachislos, and if you don’t own and love one yet…you will!...trust me.
Coming Up in Part 2
In part two of this look at Pachislos I’ll be doing a full review of both my new Pachislo machines, Metal Slug and Tekken, including photos of the insides of the machines and video of them in action very soon.
In that article, I’ll tell you all about my ordering experience with Stealth in addition to a excellent Pachislo specific stand that I purchased from Specialty Stands. These are sturdily hand built oak stands have electrical outlets built in for easy plug/play of your machine!
Until then, I hope you’ve enjoyed Part 1!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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