Date: 14.07.2023

by Bartosz Burzyński

Focus on Asia: what has been changed in the iGaming industry

Asia is home to some of the most alluring markets in the gambling industry, projected to have a volume of $2.48 billion by 2027. Slotegrator experts reveal which specific markets to focus on in 2023.

Asian market of the gambling industry

With 60% of the world’s population and widespread demand for gambling and betting, it’s no wonder that Asian markets draw so much attention from online casino and sportsbook operators. Here, Slotegrator highlights several large and interesting markets to focus on this year: 

  • Japan. Casino gaming is currently illegal in Japan, but the country’s first integrated resort (with a casino included) is scheduled to open in 2029 in the city of Osaka to promote tourism. Japan is a promising market for gambling. Japan has one of the strongest economies in the world and its people are reputed for their love of gambling and betting, which attracts many offshore operators to the Japanese market. According to IMARC Group, a market research firm, the online gambling market is expected to reach $10.1 billion by 2027, at an average annual growth rate of 6.95%. These numbers include both online casino and online sports betting.
  • The Philippines. Gambling is legal in the Philippines, and turnover reaches more than $3 billion; Philippine casinos generated $3.3 billion in GGR in 2022 — a healthy post-pandemic rebound for the Southeast Asian nation. According to regulator PAGCOR, casino GGR in the final quarter of 2022 totaled about $934 million, a 95% year-over-year improvement. Gambling here is one of those activities that has become a part of life. 
  • India. Driven by a huge population, a growing middle class, and spreading communications infrastructure, India’s iGaming market is experiencing a massive boom. Gambling turnover here is estimated at $9 billion. The legal status of gambling in India has been fraught in the past several years, with courts ruling back and forth on the status of skill games, games of chance, and other aspects of the industry. This year saw the introduction of a novel regulatory system: instead of a bureaucratic agency keeping tabs on the private sector, the “self-regulatory bodies” will be made up of online gambling businesses themselves. 

Three markets that are also worth paying attention in the Asian space are South Korea, Vietnam, and Malaysia. 

  • South Korea has one of the most technologically sophisticated societies in the world, with the world’s fastest mobile internet and a national fervor for video games. Citizens can only bet on sports, play the lottery, and visit a single legal casino (there are other land-based casinos in the country that cater exclusively to foreigners). However, it’s very common for players to visit offshore sites; despite restrictions, it’s estimated that gambling revenues can be as high as $17.6 billion per year.  
  • Vietnam is one of Asia’s most promising markets. With a strong and growing economy, and public attitude warming up towards gambling, this country has a lot to offer to iGaming investors. Overall, Vietnam’s economy is solid and growing. The country’s GDP reached $366.1 billion in 2021, with a GDP per capita of $3,756 (according to the World Bank). Vietnam began the process of legalizing gambling fairly recently; in 2018 sports betting was permitted and casinos were opened to tourists. Asia has also seen a significant shift in attitude towards gambling, particularly in Vietnam. Though gambling has long been strictly prohibited, authorities are changing their attitude, and the issue of legalization frequently surfaces in official discourse (though full regulation is still likely not in the near future).
  • Malaysia is one of the fastest-growing economies in Southeast Asia, actively attracting foreign investment with its diverse population and technological development. Despite the country’s Muslim-majority status, there’s still plenty of room for the gambling industry. Lotteries are permitted by the Lotteries Act in 1952, and horse racing was legalized by the Racing Act in 1961. However, sports betting was forbidden by the Betting Act 1953. Similar to Vietnam, Malaysia only permits tourists to gamble in physical locations; both internet and physical gambling are banned for its own citizens. But Malaysians are huge sports fans, and as it normally happens, their love is reflected in their gambling habits, regardless of legal status. 

In 2022, Slotegrator issued a guide to iGaming in Asia that can be very helpful in exploring gambling in this region for all those who dream of great development prospects. 

Slotegrator’s team is gearing up to go to the Philippines and take part in SiGMA World / Asia 2023, which will be held in Manila from July 19th to 22nd. SiGMA Asia is an incredible source of inspiration and cutting-edge ideas for those who strive to stay ahead of the game in the iGaming industry. 

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