Gambling has a long history in Asia however most countries across the continent have not legalized or regulated online gambling activity. Just this week, Madras, a region in India announced a total ban on online gambling.
This does not mean that audiences located in Asia are not interested and do not partake in online gambling and betting.
Asia hosts the largest portion of the world's inhabitants. With over 60% of the global population residing in this continent, Asia has been striking interest as one of the igaming industry's most favourable audiences.
IGaming is establishing its presence in this continent. Asian gamblers have access to personalised casinos which are localized towards the needs of audiences from various countries such as Mystino in Japan.
However, many mainstream online gambling platforms, even ones we can access in Canada are accessible from Asia and also offer games targetting Asian players.
We often access casinos which have many game options which would certainly be of interest to Asian players, either because of the game design or the language used throughout the game.
Some of the most popular slots among the general online gambling community feature a very typical anime graphic design.
Otherwise, they may feature culture-specific themes and subjects such as dragons, lotus flowers and the Buddha which very obviously target mainly Chinese audiences.
You may also spot games which feature mysterious veiled women and genies, perhaps a nod towards Indian and Eurasian culture.
For live games it's becoming increasingly more common to have game lobbies which cater for Asian audiences, offering live streams in various languages such as Indian, Chinese and Phillipino.
A recent blog post by SiGMA particularly caught our attention.
It stated that lottery ticket sales in China skyrocketed at the beginning of 2023 totalling to over CNY 33 billion in sales, which loosely converts to over $6 billion.
This is quite a jump when compared to a study conducted in 2015 which led to the conclusion that in that year, the general Asian population had only spent around $275,000 on gambling.
Today the total spending being made on gambling only in China has risen to about 1 trillion Chinese Yuan.
Let's Take a Closer Look At China and Gambling
Interestingly, in China lotteries are the only form of gambling which is legal.
Although Macau has become a gambling hotspot, the activity has not yet been wholly legalized. Macaue houses around 36 active casinos and is the prime destination for gamblers across Asia.
As we mentioned, it does not mean that because China does not allow gambling of any sort, the online gambling scene in the country isn't thriving. The Chinese government has even taken to blocking people's access to gambling websites through a firewall on their networks.
In China, players normally use mirror sites to access their favourite casinos, the top choice for the audience being bet365. Mirror sites are websites which allow access to internet pages which are otherwise blocked and inaccessible in that specific region.
This is not at all a safe way to access online gambling platforms.
Mirror sites are notorious for scams, with one of the most popular stories to hit the Chinese headlines being that of online gambler Tao Huang.
After eight years of gambling, Huang lost his life savings when accessing a casino through such a site.
It is difficult to clearly understand what the government's attitude towards gambling in China is as, although the activity is illegal, we found no sources stating that players like Huang are penalized for partaking.
In fact, Macau not only fully operates casinos in broad daylight, but is also making an annual revenue of almost $2 million dollars from the activity.
Some types of gambling are being regulated here such as poker and horse-race betting.
But of course, online gambling does maintain more of the audience's interest considering how many more options are available to gamblers online.
Players from China are most often accessing online casinos to play classic casino table games. This makes sense considering that in the mainland of the country, going to a physical casino is technically a crime.
There is no news yet regarding China altering laws about gambling, especially online, however as the numbers have been showing, this is an ideal market for the industry. Investments would surely shoot up from players in this region.
An Interesting Change in the Philippines
SiGMA has recently posted about the interest igaming investors have recently acquired in this country which has been displaying a sudden increase in popularity of online gambling.
For the majority of the audience in the Philippines, the most common way to gamble online is on mobile devices and players have also been leaning more towards investing in gambling using crypto.
As it stands today, mobile gamblers and crypto players are two of the largest demographics of people who are making investments in online gambling.
It is clear why online casino companies have an interest in expanding their business to the Philippines.
The Philippines is one of the only Asian countries with looser laws about gambling, with the activity having been legalized in 1975.
Currently, any online gambling activity in the region is regulated by PAGCOR but does not exempt employees and players from being prosecuted for gambling online.
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