The fascinating Asian gambling market and its success stories

by dhiram

At this moment in time Asia is the largest gambling market in the world, made, in no small part, to the technological revolution of recent years. The use of mobile platforms in particular has grown exponentially across the region as more and more people demand accessible services.

Much like Europe and the USA, there many forms of betting in China. Sports, lottery, slot machines, online poker and casino games are all proving to be popular amongst the younger generations. Controversially however, while beneficial to China’s economy, the majority of online gambling is still illegal. While sites online gaming sites such as are able to increase their revenue by offering cross-border accessibility in countries such as Australia, Canada and the UK, Chinese business is still off the cards (no pun intended!) due to legislative restrictions set by the National People’s Congress.

One exception is Macau – a small peninsula off the southern mainland with a large Portuguese influence allowing land-based and online gambling. Dedicated gamers and big players often travel to the region for a day or two to fulfil their gambling needs.

As it is a Special Administrative Region, Macau operates under different laws than the rest of China and is ruled by a different government. Because of this, Macau does not bother addressing licensing and takes no notice of the online gambling restrictions imposed on the mainland. Consequently, online casino operators go largely unlicensed.

Back in 2014, Macau’s gambling scene generated an estimated 6 times what Las Vegas managed in the previous year. Even though some recent reports have suggested a lull in overall revenue, July 2016 proved to be a success exceeding expectations in the industry.

Over half of Macau’s gambling revenues come from junket operators that bring with them VIP clients from China. Unlike Vegas there is no star treatment and VIP finesse, their role is arguably much more important. For businessmen and rich people, carrying money out of China can be difficult. Because of this, the junkets are essential, they provide money to the gambler and then recover the money once they are back in their home country. Up until 2002 this activity was illegal, though it is now regulated.

Whilst the Philippines differs from China in that they have a typically mature gambling market, the iGaming sector there is set to take off massively. The Philippines is set to the fastest growing gaming jurisdiction in Asia. The market worth reached roughly $2.7billion last year.

Singapore strictly prohibits gambling and has recently blocked hundreds offshore online gambling sites.
Similarly online gambling is completely prohibited in Japan with only a select few gambling activities actually legal including; lottery, scratch cards, horse racing and football. Vietnam’s stance on gambling is similar to Japan’s albeit stricter as they only permit state lottery, with Thailand and India following suit but making allowances for horse racing.

Despite the best efforts of Malaysia, Bangladesh and and Indonesia to completely illegalize gambling, punters still find a way to gamble online. Bahrain and Qatar acted on the number of people using the internet to gamble illegally and enforced a censorship on the web.

Whilst South Korea have banned gambling for its residents completely, even when they’re out of the borders, they do accept the attraction of gambling have opened 16 casinos for tourist purposes that only tourists can enter. The only casino that natives can enter is the Kangwon Land Resort & Casino.

Up until 2013, the online gambling market in Lebanon was thriving, that was until the Ministry of Justice afforded all legal monopoly to Casino du Liban, which is now the only place to gamble.

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