Sizing the Used Pinball Market; How Big is it Really? (Hint: Bigger than you think!)

Sizing the Used Pinball Market; How Big is it Really? (Hint: Bigger than you think!)
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Sizing the Used Pinball Market; How Big is it Really? (Hint: Bigger than you think!)
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Sizing the Used Pinball Market; How Big is it Really? (Hint: Bigger than you think!)
Published on
July 26, 2023
Updated on
July 26, 2023
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Editors note: This is the first official contribution from Ted "Doc" Finlay, Ph.D. You may have seen some of his data integrated into our pinball games directory, or on a post we wrote earlier this year on the best used pinball machines. If this is your first experience with Ted, he's been running for the last 5 years, collecting and publishing pinball sales data for the pinball community. We really appreciate the work that goes into this effort, particularly some of the market analysis he's done in the past for This Week in Pinball.

How Big is the Used Pinball Machine Market?

How big is the used pinball market? Ten million dollars? Fifty million? One hundred million? Pinballers all seem to buy and sell constantly, but what does that all add up to? 


As a market researcher, I've done more than my fair share of market size assessments. Whether it be for pharmaceutical companies developing a new flu vaccine, sizing up demand for an online gaming platform, or CBD chews for dogs - I've done it.  For the past five years, my contribution to the pinball industry has been tracking and publishing used pinball prices. Why? Well, every industry seems to have a way to track the value of its used products. The auto industry has Kelly Blue Book. Baseball card collectors have the Beckett Price Guide. And pinball buyers and sellers have


Using the data I tracked over the years, I decided to take a pass at estimating the size of the used pinball market. Some questions I wanted to answer with this analysis:

  • How many pinball machines trade hands every year? 
  • What is the value of those machines? 
  • Where are most of those machines sold - dealers or through private parties?


If you're not familiar with, let me briefly explain our data (a full explanation can be found  at We collect verified sales of used pinball machines from various sources including Pinside, eBay, and other online auction sites. We do not use data from Facebook or other sites that do not publish a final sales amount. But that doesn’t mean we can’t still estimate a total market size. 

Given those sources, I tracked the sale of $10,567,154 worth of used pinball machines in 2022. That includes 1,961 recorded sales with about two-thirds coming from Pinside, which works out to be an average of $5,389 per game sold1. But this is only a small fraction of the marketplace.  A partial list of other places to buy pinball machines includes dealers, Craigslist, friends and family, local pinball leagues, word of mouth, pinball shows, and just the lucky "barn find".


In fact, according to a recent survey taken on both and the Facebook group "Pinball Enthusiasts", the marketplace looks generally like this2:

where people buy used pinball machines

These results are self-reported, but give us a good idea of the likely market split. These splits also make it clear that the data uses are just a small sample of the used pinball marketplace. A little over 2/3 of our data is based on Pinside ads that published the sale price. And those ads are only about 12% of the ~12,400 Pinside ads in 2022. Another 27% of the ads were machines that sold via Pinside but the sale price was marked "Private". The Pinside ads that reported the sale price add up to $9.1 million. If we extrapolate that to all sold machines, then we have a "Pinside Total" of $31.4 million worth of pinball machines sold. An impressive amount in its own right.

estimating the used pinball market size in 2022

However, as you can see from the chart, Pinside represents only about 22% of the used pinball market. Now if we extrapolate again to the entire pinball market ($31.4/.22), the total used pinball market size is $143 million! That's over 26,000 pinball machines trading hands in 2022, about 72 per day. Market sizing is never an exact science, so if we allow for a 20% margin of error, we set the market at $114 to $172 million in sales.


  1. Average price per game is the mean price of all games sold regardless of age or condition.
  2. These surveys are directional only. Pinside n= 128 and Facebook n = 172. Results are combined. Each poll is biased toward the sample site, so combined results are presented.