A general picture of Online Gambling in Asia|en
With the population counting for third five of the world’s population, Asia is now the largest gambling market. Despite impacts of tendencies or changes in the global market like the increasing use of mobile devices or differences in the rules and regulations, online gambling in Asia has still experienced a consistent growth. Thus, in order to have a better understanding about this fastest growing iGaming market, let’s take a closer look at the industry country by country.
Certain forms of gambling such as horse races, football matches, and lottery are permitted in Hong Kong as long as they are under management by the government-sponsored Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKKC).
Another gambling activity which is allowed to operate in Hong Kong is mahjong. However, this form of gambling is still run in gray areas and in an underground manner. Therefore, Hong Kong players prefer to travel to Macau frequently because of harsh penalties applied to any other gambling activity.
Online gambling is wildly popular in China in spite of the fact that most forms of it are considered illegal. Only approved sites are permitted to legally accept wagers on poker, casino games, sports betting or mahjong. Nevertheless, most of the big players prefer internationally licensed websites for the variety of sports games or a short trip to Macau where allows most gambling activities, land-based and online.
India is a rapidly growing market of online gambling in Asia. Besides horse racing and lotteries which are the fully accepted gambling activities, gambling as a whole is restricted across the country.
Most Indian punters prefer regional websites with easy payment options because no gambling website is given the license to operate by the Indian government. Nevertheless, there are also no specific laws that explicitly ban online gambling. Therefore, it is really difficult to determine what is and what is not permitted in India. Whether online gambling is banned or not is still unclear, but the Indian government is able to block foreign gambling websites and prevent its residents from using betting and gaming sites.
Specific legislation related to online gambling has recently been introduced in two states of India. While online gambling is completely prohibited in Maharashtra, the Sikkim government now has the authority to issue licenses to operators wanting to provide online gambling services within the state. On the other hand, the new law (Foreign Exchange Management Act) which requires payment on gambling sites in Rupees has been imposed. However, the use of electronic wallets such as Skrill, PayPal, and Neteller is preferred by most players.
The only permitted form of gambling in Indonesia is the state lottery. Indonesians still takes part in online gambling through international sites, and recently, the local authorities have done little to prosecute these individuals and block the sites.
All forms of online gambling even land-based gambling is mostly prohibited under Japan law and limited only to things such as the lottery, scratch cards and betting on certain sorts of sporting events and races. Despite this, many Japanese citizens still usually visit offshore online gambling sites. Provided it is done through an officially sanctioned site, sports betting online is legal in the country.
Macau is a part of China; nevertheless, it has a capitalist economy and is not restricted by Chinese laws as a Special Administrative Region. Casinos are the legal activities in the region, and there is no license or regulation of online gambling in Macau. As a result, many players from China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan often travel to Macau to gamble, which can be considered very complicated, particularly for Chinese tourists. The special arrangements must be made to bring money out of China to visit the casinos. Junkets that are gambling trips to Macau arrangers typically assist with the process. Plenty of players from China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong appear at the virtual tables of the online gambling sites that operate in Macau; nevertheless, there could be penalties for them if they are caught accessing sites from within their home countries.
Most non-Muslims in the country usually take part in online gambling by using sites based in the UK or the Philippines. They make use of international gaming sites to play casino games, poker, and sports betting. Like many other countries that ban online gambling, Malaysia does not try to block foreign sites, but could technically prosecute punters. However, no reports of any major crackdowns on those participating in illegal gambling are found.
The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation take responsibility for regulating gambling over much of the islands. PAGCOR, as it is called for short, does run an online casino, which are reputable sites that take enough safety measures to protect players. There is a secondary regulator which operates gaming in the Cagayan Special Economic Zone also runs some online gaming sites.
The Philippines permits foreign investors to get licenses for gaming in the country. These investors have to pay an applicant about $84,000 up front and additional $40,000 annually for a casino and sports book. Certainly, the investment may be worth it since the Filipino iGaming market is projected to grow to $2.7 billion this year. In general, iGaming growth is faster in the Philippines than anywhere else in Asia.
Gambling as a whole is forbidden in Singapore. So far, Singapore has blocked hundreds of offshore gambling sites and gambling online on a non-approved site has become a criminal offense.
The new Remote Gambling Act, which has been imposed in last October, bans gambling services, remote gambling promotion, and remote gambling service advertisements; and only accepts online gambling services provided by local non-profit operators.
This new law has led to the increasing popularity of online gambling in Singapore and has resulted in a lot of online gambling operators leaving the Singapore market.
Gambling activities in South Korea are illegal and it is even a crime for its citizens to gamble outside the borders. However, some certain forms of controlled gambling activities are allowed such as horse racing, lottery, and some sports betting.
South Korea has 16 casinos where only visitors can enter for encouraging tourism activities. Kangwon Land Resort & Casino which is located in the northern part of the country is the only casino that permits South Koreans to gamble.
Betting online is not approved from a technical point of view. Nevertheless, Koreans can still place bets on sports, poker, casino games, baccarat, blackjack, roulette, and mahjong via regional gambling sites that providing easy payment options and Korean language interface.
Thai people do love gambling activities despite the fact that gambling in Thailand is regulated by multiple laws.
Most people in the country can access 2 forms of legal gambling in Thailand: horse races and the national lottery. In order to satisfy the Thai demand for all kinds of gambling, Thai citizens are permitted to visit casinos in Cambodia, Burma, and Laos. Moreover, they are also able to have an online payment and then personally visit the casinos in the neighboring countries to collect their money.
Thai players can place their wagers on licensed and legal websites in other countries like Philippines or UK; however, they prefer local ones because of localized interfaces and much easier payment options.
All forms of gambling except state lottery are prohibited in Vietnam. Anyone who places bets or engages in other forms of online gambling is punished with strict penalties and fines.
Nevertheless, due to these overly tight restrictions, many forms of illegal gambling are thriving in Vietnam because Vietnamese people are big fans of gambling, including lotteries, casino games, online poker and sports betting online.
Like the neighboring countries, the local authorities do not try to block international and local betting websites which are easy to access.