Asia’s gaming markets have seen a strong first half, with Macau, the Philippines and Cambodia leading the way, prompting some analysts to revise upwards their targets for the full year. But it hasn’t all been plain sailing; the fatal attack on Resorts World Manila lead to a suspension of its gambling operations in June, while South Korea continues to underperform after a diplomatic spat with China, which banned tour groups after Seoul agreed to deploy a U.S. missile shield.
A small change to Australian gambling law in 2015 is now having an impact on the wider industry. The amendment highlights why many are concerned about the market’s ability to support some of the multi-billion dollar IR projects being planned. With Australian's gambling preferences still focused on pokies and VIP revenue declining, who will fill these properties?
Vietnam, a country of keen gamblers and soccer fans with a population of about 90 million, may be on the verge of legalizing sports betting after two decades of procrastination. However, experts say a proposal put forward in August by the Ministry of Finance is unlikely to go far enough to open the market and stamp out rampant illegal gambling. At issue in particular is a low daily cap and narrow options.
Malaysia-based SV International revealed plans to transform the sleepy coastal town of Sihanoukville, Cambodia, into the “Macau of Southeast Asia.” It plans to “bulk acquire every potential development lot” in the town’s port area, and is “purchasing existing hotels for renovation and equipping them with gaming licenses.” However, unless legislation is improved, infrastructure upgraded infrastructure and transport links are improved existing operators are sceptical about the plan's chances for success.
Were it not for a simple spelling mistake on an online bank transfer instruction, cyber criminals would have made off with more than $1billion from the Bangladesh Bank in February. The attempted raid left many scratching their heads as to how in this day and age, with all the anti-fraud checks banks should have in place, such an audacious heist was even thought possible. And while the misspelling of “foundation” as “fandation” was enough to prompt the bank to halt the transfer, the unknown criminals still walked away with $80 million. Had the spelling mistake not occurred, they would have taken the full amount. The case has highlighted the shortcomings of AML laws in the Philippines and raised concerns of inadequacies in most other Asian jurisdictions, raising calls for action.
Home to over one billion people, making it the second most populated continent, Africa is generating growing interest as one of the world’s great untapped gaming frontiers. Although casino gambling makes up the bulk of the market at present, growth in internet usage and in particular mobile, is expected to lead to a boom in online gambling. While some of the European majors have already ventured in, some experts say Asian investors may have an edge when it comes to their business approach.
When 188Bet announced its withdrawal from the UK and Irish markets in March, it was the latest in a long line of Asia-facing operators to back away from Europe’s highly-regulated igaming jurisdictions.