To provide potential new operators and established brands with essential info and useful insights into a range of different target markets, we analyzed the state of the iGaming industry in countries across Asia, from Turkey to South Korea.
Asia has 60% of the world’s population, hundreds of millions of internet users, a growing middle class, and increasing internet connectivity. These facts (combined with a widespread reverence for luck) made countries throughout the continent prime real estate for iGaming operators even before the outbreak of Covid-19 which, of course, dramatically accelerated the adoption of online gambling in many of them.
Our research revealed that while each market has its unique facets, a few common themes run through them. The first, as always, is the importance of localization.
Player tastes vary beyond casino classics like slots, roulette, and blackjack; each country has its own local favorites.
Vietnamese players, for example, will look for dice game bau cua tom ca and token game xóc đĩa, while Chinese players like sic bo, mahjong, and pai gow. There’s also no denying the live casino phenomenon live dealer versions of local favorites like Dragon Tiger in China and Teen Patti in India have caught on like wildfire.
A sportsbook can’t go wrong offering football. But while the global favorite is popular across Asia, there are a number of other sports that are just as close if not closer to players’ hearts; cricket in India and Pakistan, baseball in Japan, and boxing in Kazakhstan all come to mind. There’s also the esports phenomenon, with its twin epicenters of China and South Korea, where the next generation of potential bettors are devoted to Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Defense of the Ancients, League of Legends, Overwatch, and Fortnite.
There are also a few regulatory themes.
The foreigner only casino model is common; a number of countries forbid their own citizens from playing in domestic casinos, which only accept tourists. The result is exactly what you’d expect: Cambodian players visit Vietnam, Thai players travel to Malaysia, and Chinese players go everywhere.
Take note: players who would otherwise have to fly or drive to a casino in a different country are very, very likely to prefer one they can reach from the comfort of their own homes, regardless of its legal status. in fact, according to the Asian Racing Federation, over 50% of the region’s online gambling activity takes place in the gray market.
However, the global trend of gambling liberalization is sweeping eastward. Authorities in Thailand are considering gambling regulation, while Vietnam is expanding a pilot program that allows locals into casinos previously reserved for foreigners, and some states in India are moving to establish online gambling regulations.
There are a few payment methods that are common throughout the region.
Each country has its own preferred e-wallets and other payment methods. Many of them, like Neteller, Skrill, and Ecopayz, are used in a number of different countries, but some countries, like India, have payment methods unique to their banking system.
For some players, crypto is the only option they have to make deposits. For the most part, Bitcoin reigns supreme, though Ethereum, Tether, and other cryptocurrencies also clearly have their fans. It’s important to remember that crypto holders are loyal to their chosen coin; they won’t switch simply because a casino supports Bitcoin but not Ripple, opting instead to seek out platforms that support the currency they’ve already invested in.
But the strongest recurring theme is the will to bet.
Compared to regions like Europe and the Americas, Asia has a high number of very restricted markets. But every action creates an equal and opposite reaction, and in this case, suppression breeds creativity. The biggest example is China, where demand is so great it has created an entire cottage industry surrounding online casinos based in the Philippines, home to many platform operators targeting Chinese players.
For crucial market insights and updates on regulation, you can also visit the iGaming Industry News below. We hope you enjoy the articles.