On online casinos, while there exists a huge variety of casino games, the ones with the biggest variety are slot games. Many online casinos have more than 2000, sometimes even 5000 casino games playable, and table games like blackjack and poker, or live casinos often account for just a small part and the majority is slots.
Compared to table games such as above, where props like playing cards and roulette are essential, slots tend to have fewer restrictions on visual elements on the screen, and therefore, there are many opportunities for more drastic expression using graphics. Naturally enough, there are many slot games based on IPs such as movies and dramas.
“Jurassic World” “Hellboy” or the Spanish language streamer series “Narcos” are good examples. Frequent players of online casinos are especially likely to see slots based on films and series produced by Hollywood studios.
Hollywood movies are not the only content that attracts global audiences. Seeing titles like “Pokémon” “Dragon Ball” or “One Piece” to name a few, Japanese anime now has audiences in many parts of the world. We can see huge crowds of enthusiastic fans who enjoy cosplaying their favorite characters at anime conventions all around the world – Paris, Los Angeles, and more.
However, unlike Hollywood films and series, which are often made available for collaborations with casino games as shown above, it is rare to see Japanese anime works appearing in online casinos. There are indeed slot games with anime-style visuals, namely some of the popular slots like “Moon Princess” or “Book of Death,” we can easily recognise heavy influences from the popular anime titles like “Sailor Moon” and “Death Note”, respectively. But it is also noticeable that none of them are direct adaptations. The question is, why is that?
How Popular Are Online Casinos In Japan Anyway?
Is it because gabling is not popular in Japan, therefore there are few Japanese anime titles that collaborate with online casino slots? Negative. Horse racing and bicycle racing are very popular in Japan, and if you walk around Tokyo, or any cities or towns on a weekend morning, you’ll most likely see a long queue in front of a Pachinko halls (Pachinko is a massively popular gamble game similar to the mixture of slot machines and pinball) formed by frequent players so they can secure a good table for them. Online casinos are also popular in Japan, and quite a few major players are operating in Japan as you can see on lists on this Japanese online casino review site, Onlinecasinojapan.com.
Is Legal Issue Another Factor?
Although gambling is popular in Japan, horse racing is actually a public-run that has been legalized as an exception along with a few others, and pachinko is operated in a way that exploits a legal loophole where the authorities are turning a blind eye to it.
In short, all the other gambling made available by Japanese entities is illegal. So all the online casinos operating in the Japanese language are not local. The current gambling laws did not take into account the existence of the Internet that would allow access to international casino sites from the territory, when they were enacted. But generally, the Japanese people tend to weigh heavily on rules. Under circumstances like above, perhaps a lot of anime titles avoid stepping into legally gray areas.
Rights Management Could Be the Ultimate Reason
Another reason may be the difference in business practices between the Japanese anime industry and Hollywood. In general, Hollywood mega-budget movies are fully financed by major studios such as Warner Bros. and Universal, which own all the rights to the films worldwide. Of course, that includes rights to sequels and game adaptations. As such, it’s relatively straightforward to move the casino game idea forward, provided the studio allows it.
On the other hand, anime production in Japan is very different from Hollywood’s “all rights” system. Their common way to finance production is the so -called “production committee model“. This means that the production is financed bit by bit by various media companies like broadcasters, game companies, online platforms, etc in return for rights for their respective functions like TV broadcast, game, streaming, and so on.
One major issue is that, while each member of the committee owns rights to a window, they are often required to consent with ALL the members from the committee before making any major decisions. For casino game providers, many of which are based out of Japan, it can be extremely difficult to find rights holders in Japan, and even if they do, they would sometimes have to get approvals from more than 10 member companies. Obviously it would take a LONG time to do so, and that could be the ultimate reason why we rarely see casino slots based on Japanese anime despite the number of anime fans in the world.
However, in recent years, some global streamers giants have landed in Japan. They generally produce series/films like Hollywood major studios that fully invest in works and own all rights. Perhaps soon the day will come when we see more online casino games that are “authentic” adaptations of Japanese anime titles.