An overview of the Asian online gambling market and opportunities

19 January 2023

In 2022, the Asian gambling market reached a value of $19 billion, just for the online sector. Various stakeholders believe that this could rise significantly, hitting $37.5 billion by 2028 with a growth rate of around 11.40%.

But what is behind this growth? At the forefront is rising consumer awareness of the online gambling sector, which can be attributed to accessibility via electronic devices, real-time gambling experiences, and digital payments. The COVID-19 pandemic, which hit the region particularly hard, has actually helped accelerate online gambling popularity, driving people online in the search of entertainment due to the closure of land-based casinos.

In this analysis, we take an in-depth look at the Asian sector and what opportunities lie ahead for iGaming operators in 2023 and beyond.

What is driving growth?
One of the key factors that is driving growth in Asia is the increasing disposable income of those living there. More and more people are becoming prosperous and moving away from the poverty line. Asia is home to more billionaires, 950, than anywhere else in the world and it is home to 42% of the world’s total wealth. As for regular people, poverty alleviation strategies such as social safety nets, targeted initiatives and economic development are also having an impact. Large portions of the population have now joined the middle classes and have more money than ever before to spend. The region is also extremely online-friendly and is home to a booming tech sector, meaning people are already familiar and comfortable with the online world, including gambling.

Aside from this, almost 65% of the population are online and a similar figure use smartphones. This means there is a huge target audience out there for online gambling operators. In terms of payments, Asians are happy to use digital payment methods as well as to experiment with cryptocurrencies, something making serious headway in the iGaming sector right now.

Which kinds of gambling are most popular?
Sports betting has long been the most popular kind of gambling in the region, in particular horse racing and football. But now, other types of gambling are coming to the forefront. One to watch is eSports, which has experienced a significant uptick in popularity since the pandemic and continues to draw in new fans. Fantasy sports is also rising in the region, along with live dealer games such as poker and roulette. Remember, Asian players always want to be at the forefront of technological innovation, so the more exciting, advanced and innovative offerings you have, the more they will appeal to the Asian market.

What about regulation?
Online gambling is illegal throughout most of Asia. That means that most countries have rules in place prohibiting it completely or limiting it to state-owned or run enterprises. Other countries have a more hands-off approach and do not expressly prohibit it with companies that are based outside of their jurisdiction. Some, like Japan have regulatory frameworks in place which are tough and well supervised. But this regulatory mess does not mean players from the region do not gamble online. Millions do every day, and this number will increase day by day. It is likely that many jurisdictions in Asia will seek to regulate the sector in some way to protect players, but also to enjoy revenue from the sector.

Which are the markets to watch?
For 2023, we always have our eyes on China - the most populated country on the planet, followed by India, the second most populated. But others to watch in the year ahead include Japan, the Philippines and Singapore.

For over 25 years, Fast Offshore has online gambling. During that time, we at Fast Offshore have witnessed massive changes in the sector as it transitions into a more digital and on-demand world. We have also stood beside some of the industry’s biggest names to help them launch and expand their operations in various jurisdictions. In addition to corporate support, we also help with compliance and all matters relating to licensing. If you are an iGaming entrepreneur, or have an established company looking for more assistance, Fast Offshore is here. Our team can provide you with the full A-Z service for your iGaming company, including help with your fair gaming obligations. Contact us today for more information.

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