Pachinko is everywhere. In the countryside it is some of the only entertainment around. There are people who are "professional" players, not holding down a job and relying on their pachinko winnings to get by. In recent years even the pachinko establishment has tried to clean up its image, producing one yen parlors (where the amount of money used is much less), smoke-free parlors and couples' parlors where there are rows of two machines paired with a love seat. The thing about pachinko is, I still don't like it, but I can certainly understand its place among salarymen working their lives away for very small salaries and those who don't fit the salary mold, working outside the salary-realm or holding down several low-paying jobs at once.
If you ever do catch the p-bug, I would highly recommend the game based on a period drama about a band of old skool assassins called Hisatsu Shigotonin. It's the only game I play and if you appreciate a combination of old Japanese movies and tacky Vegas lights, it may be the game for you.