How do mahjong parlors work?

How do Japanese Mahjong Parlors Work?

I’ve seen mahjong parlors all over Japan. They seem to run the gamut from seedy yakuza haunts to respectable family entertainment places along with manga/internet cafes.

What I want to know are three things. First, when you go there, do you go with your friends and get a table so you can play together, or is it like a casino/card room where you go to find a game with random people?

Second, how do these places make money? Do they charge per hour for your seat and try to sell you food and drinks? Do some of them take a cut of the bets like card rooms?

Which leads me to the third question. Gambling is illegal in Japan, yet mahjong parlors operate out in the open. Obviously nobody plays mahjong just for fun any more than they would play poker. So how do the players handle the exchange of money without attracting unwanted attention?

 Question from: Stardog Champion

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One comment

  1. yes its like a casino and you play with random people,different tables have different stakes and yes they make money on hourly collections ,fees depend on the stakes you play.yes you can play with your friends on the same table,but why pay the collection while you can play at home.gambling is illegal,that why cash does not exchange hands,tokens are used and exchanged for prizes later which can be exchanged for cash in a somewhat seedy way.thats how they get around the so called gambling.

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