Asian iGaming: An overview of the different online gambling markets
Gambling Insider contributor Ron Mendelson, of Fast Offshore, breaks the market down from verticals to licences and more.
The Asian iGaming sector is a rapidly growing industry with significant value and potential. Over the past decade, the sector has seen a surge in popularity and has become one of the largest and most profitable in the world. The sector consists of various types of games, including sports betting, online casinos, lotteriesand poker, among others.
According to industry analysts, the Asian iGaming sector will grow significantly by 2025. The growth of the industry can be attributed to various factors, including the increasing adoption of smartphones and mobile devices, the rise of digital payment methods and the growing popularity of online gaming.
The emergence of online gaming in Asia began in the early 2000s and it has been on an upwards trajectory ever since. Aside from technological advancements, this surge in popularity is helped along by a rise in disposable incomes, a growing middle class and the easing of strict regulations on gambling in some countries.
Those to watch
China remains the biggest market for iGaming in Asia, and it is projected to remain so in the coming years, although gambling is, of course, illegal in Mainland China. However, other countries such as Japan, South Korea and the Philippines are also emerging as significant markets in the sector. Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia are important to watch, while India is showing potential as a future iGaming market, pending clarified regulation.
What’s the sector worth?
The online casino market segment in Asia is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 14.9% between 2020 and 2025. The main driver of this growth is likely to be influenced by the increasing popularity of live dealer games, which offer a more realistic gaming experience. Live casinos are particularly popular with Asian audiences but are also experiencing interest across all other markets.
"The sports betting market segment is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 10.8% between 2020 and 2025"
Sports betting has also gained a lot of traction in recent years, with many sports enthusiasts using iGaming platforms to place bets on various sports events. The sports betting market segment is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 10.8% between 2020 and 2025, attributed to the increasing number of sports fans in the region, the availability of global sports events and the rise of mobile sports betting.
The preferred types of games in the Asian iGaming sector vary by country. In China and Vietnam, sports betting remains the most popular type of game. In the Philippines, online casinos are the most popular, while in Japan, mobile gaming is the preferred option. In South Korea, mobile gaming and esports are the most popular, while in India, online lotteries and poker are seeing growth.
Indeed, one of the significant trends in the Asian iGaming sector is the increasing adoption of mobile gaming. Mobile gaming has become a lucrative market for iGaming operators, with many players preferring to access games on their smartphones and tablets. The rise of mobile gaming is fuelled by the increasing penetration of smartphones, the ease of access to mobile gaming platforms and the availability of reliable mobile networks.
Social gaming breakthrough
Another trend in the sector is the popularity of social gaming, which involves playing games that are integrated with social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. The social gaming market segment in Asia is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 16.2% between 2020 and 2025. The growth of social gaming is due to the adoption of social media platforms in the region, the availability of social games on mobile devices and the rise of casual gaming.
Projections for the Asian iGaming sector are favourable; however, the sector is naturally not without its challenges.
One of the significant challenges is the varying regulations on gambling in different countries within the region. Some countries have strict regulations on gambling, while others have more relaxed rules, and the lack of a uniform regulatory framework makes it challenging for iGaming operators to expand their operations across the region.
For now, this can be circumvented by getting licensed in an offshore jurisdiction such as Kahnawake or the Isle of Manand offering your services at a local level. Another challenge facing the sector is the growth of fraudulent activities, such as money laundering and illegal online gambling. Regulators in the region are taking steps to combat these activities by introducing stricter rules and guidelines, but there is still much work to be done to eliminate fraudulent activities in the sector.
“The growth of the industry can be attributed to various factors, including the increasing adoption of smartphones and mobile devices”
If you are looking to enter the iGaming industry in Asia, it is important to obtain the proper licences. Here are three recommended types:
Curaçao is one of the oldest and most respected online gaming jurisdictions in the world. It offers a comprehensive regulatory framework that is designed to protect players and ensure fair play. Curaçao eGaming licences are recognised by many of the world’s leading iGaming operators and they offer a range of benefits, such as low startup costs, tax-friendly regulations and a fast and efficient licensing process.
The Kahnawake Gaming Commission is authorised to issue licences to online gaming companies worldwide. It offers a rigorous regulatory framework that is designed to protect players, and ensure ethical and transparent operations. Kahnawake licences are recognised by many major iGaming operators and are considered one of the most prestigious licences in the industry.
The Isle of Man is a small island nation located in the Irish Sea. It is known for its comprehensive regulatory framework for online gaming, which offers a wide range of protections for players and operators alike. The Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission is responsible for licensing and regulating all online gambling activities on the island, and its licences are recognised as some of the most respected globally.
The Asian iGaming sector is a rapidly growing industry with significant value and potential, spurred by innovative tech and new kinds of games. The sector is projected to grow significantly in the coming years, driven by the increasing adoption of smartphones and mobile devices, the rise of digital payment methods and the growing popularity of online gaming. This means it is ripe for gaming entrepreneurs who want to make their mark across the continent.
If you are interested in working with the Asian market, Fast Offshore can help. We offer corporate services, licensing, compliance and various other services to professionals and entities in the iGaming sector. Contact our team today to find out more.