Home to more than 60 percent of the world’s population, Asia has the largest gambling market of any continent, with the consistent growth in its iGaming revenues being spurred on further by the increased use of mobile devices.
Still, the state of online gaming differs greatly among Asian nations due to dramatic differences in the regulation and control of their individual industries, so in order to better understand the state of iGaming in Asia, Plus EV compiled different reviews for each Asian country (take a look into the Philippines’ own overview) known to have online gambling enthusiasts
Online gambling is wildly popular in China despite the fact that most aspects of it are considered to be illegal under Chinese Law. Only approved sites are allowed to legally accept bets for poker, casino games, sports betting and other games; however, illegal sites pop up regularly. The Chinese authorities do actively pursue those who run illegal sites as well as those involved in the business end of illegal iGaming; however, the country is not known to actively prosecute actual players.
Only certain types of gambling are permitted in Hong Kong, and when gambling is permitted, it is only allowed under the management of the Hong Kong Jockey Club. Legal gambling is permitted on horse races, soccer and mahjong, but poker is still largely considered to be illegal. Both players and proprietors involved with illegal gambling can be penalized under Hong Kong’s legal system.
Indonesia is ruled under Sharia Law, which outlaws all forms of gambling. The only allowable form of gambling is the state lottery. Indonesians still participate in online gambling via international sites, and so far, the authorities have done little to prosecute these individuals or block the sites.
Japanese law prohibits all forms of online gambling. Even land-based gambling is mostly illegal in the country and limited only to things like the lottery, scratch cards and betting on certain types of sporting events and races. In spite of this, many Japanese citizens still visit offshore online gambling sites. Online sports betting are legal in the country, provided it is done through an officially sanctioned site.
Macau is considered part of China; however, it is a Special Administrative Region that has a capitalist economy and is not restricted by Chinese laws. Casinos are legal in the region, and there is no licensing or regulating of online gambling in Macau whatsoever. As a result, many people from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan travel to Macau to gamble. This can prove to be very complicated, particularly for Chinese tourists, as special arrangements must be made to take money out of China to visit the casinos. Junkets that arrange gambling trips to Macau typically assist with the process. You’ll find plenty of players from China, Taiwan and Hong Kong at the virtual tables of the online gambling sites that operate in Macau; however, there could be penalties for them if they are caught accessing sites from within their home countries.
As in Indonesia, Sharia law prevents gambling in Malaysia, but non-Muslims in the country still participate in online gambling, usually using sites based in the UK or the Philippines. Casino games, poker and sports betting are all popular among Malaysians who make use of international gaming sites. Like many other countries in the region that prohibit online gambling, Malaysia does not try to block foreign sites, but could technically prosecute players. There are no reports of any major crackdowns on those participating in illegal gambling, however.
In South Korea, gambling activities are illegal. Even more, it is a crime for Koreans to gamble outside the borders. Nevertheless, some state controlled gambling activities are allowed, like horse racing, lottery and betting on some sports.
To encourage tourism activities, South Korea has 16 casinos where only tourist can enter. The only casino that allows South Koreans to gamble is Kangwon Land Resort & Casino, located in the northern part of the country.
Online betting is not approved from a technical point of view. Still, Koreans can place bets (like many other Asian countries, where gambling is illegal) on regional gambling sites that support easy payment options and a friendly Korean language interface. Using these sites, Koreans can bet on sports, casino games, poker, baccarat, roulette, blackjack and mahjong.
International betting sites are more difficult to use, since it is not that easy to deposit money, though the sports betting options offer more gaming diversity.
In Bangladesh, online gambling is illegal under the Islamic law. As in Pakistan, there is a great number of bettors who choose to bet online on well-known websites from the West.
Pakistan is an Islamic country and all gambling is banned. Nevertheless, most punters do place bets on international websites, which are legal in Europe and provide Pakistani banking options.
Until June 2013, the citizens of Lebanon were allowed to access a number of online gambling sites. From that moment on, the Ministry of Justice decided to stop all foreign online gambling operators and give legal monopoly to Casino du Liban, which is right now the only place where you are allowed to gamble.
Brunei is a wealthy country located on Borneo Island, neighboring Malaysia. Since it is an Islamic country, all forms of gambling activities are banned.
Bahrain is an Islamic country and gambling of all sorts is banned. Internet censorship is also enforced and the government blocks websites that are connected to gambling.
United Arab Emirates
Online gambling is illegal in the United Arab Emirates and authorities take serious prohibition measures to detect and block the banned online content, including gambling websites.
In the Asia-Pacific region, some governments have gone to lengths to limit online gambling. In Singapore, all forms of remote gambling were forbidden under new regulations in 2015, and in China and South Korea, a number of organizers of illegal online gambling websites were arrested. In Australia, where the regime is more liberal, foreign companies are particularly attracted by the interactive betting sector.
However, it cannot be denied that more and more people are looking into Asia as a lucrative market that can cater to the growing demand for iGaming.
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