Internet gaming growing in Asia

Macau capital of casinoWhile internet gaming was growing in popularity in Europe and the United States in the 1990s with easier access to the internet and reliable methods of payment, the situation in Asia wasn’t as conducive to a similar level of growth due to a lack of these basic requirements for internet gambling. However, now many online gaming operators tend to look to Asia as the main place for growth in these difficult economic times.
There is great interest in the Asian market as Asian players are very much sought after because they are inveterate gamblers and are willing to spend money to indulge their passion. Some online gaming sites aimed at the Asian market have seen increases in betting of almost 50%. The online gaming market continues to grow and not just with Asia based operators but also as operators in the western markets are turning their attention to Asian gamblers and developing sites aimed specifically at them. Some online sites now have up to 30% of their overall business coming from Asian players.As betting and gambling using hand held devices continues to grow (See article: Mobile Gambling Gaining in Popularity) so will the part of the market held by the Asian countries continue to grow. Forecasts are that the major part of the market share will come from these Asian countries. More countries are legalising online gambling and as the area becomes regulated so are some major operators previously involved in land based casinos such as Stanley Ho, who had the gambling monopoly in Macau for decades, now moving into the online gaming sector.

Many Asian economies such as those of Macau, Singapore and Hong Kong depend quite a bit on revenue from gaming so when online gambling operators targeted their citizens with online gambling websites some hit back by passing laws prohibiting their citizens from playing on these unlicensed offshore websites as happened in Hong Kong. Hong Kong attempted to prevent illegal online gambling by making it extremely difficult for gamblers to make payments as banks had to report any betting payments to the authorities.

Macau on the other hand has coped with the growth in gaming by developing its land based casino market by issuing licences for new casino developments. Macau has seen major investment from Las Vegas casino operators such as Steve Wynn and Sheldon Adelson who have respectively built the Wynn Macau and the Venetian Macau casino resorts. Stanley Ho has set up online websites aimed at both Asian and western players.

Macau is the main Asian centre for gambling and it has now surpassed even Las Vegas as a gambling destination. Just like in Las Vegas online gambling is having an effect on land based casinos. However both land based and online gaming are growth industries in Macau since gambling is prohibited in China so the operators are turning to Macau. The same is true of Japan and players from this country like the Chinese look to Macau for land based and online gambling.

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