How 2019 Was A Big Year For Asia’s Online Casino Industry


How 2019 Was A Big Year For Asia’s Online Casino Industry

There is a thriving online casino scene in Asia, and it has had a big 2019. Bloomberg reports that online casinos will breach $24 billion in sales (₹1.72 trillion) in Asia this year. Such a massive figure is indicative of the growing popularity of this online industry. With that being said let’s take a look at 4 of the major markets that have helped propel Asia’s online casino industry to a big 2019.


China is the key driver of this online casino boom in Asia, with lots of Chinese bettors routinely using digital gaming halls. Some of them have even been reported to bet as high as $10,500 (₹532,979) for a single round of baccarat. This goes to show how online betting has become a big business in the Mainland. However, with gaming being illegal in Mainland China, many players have found a work-around to continue playing online. The sheer number of Chinese players, in fact, is causing a boom in another country’s online casino scene (see Philippines later in this article), whose market is roughly 50% Chinese.


As in China, gaming is illegal in many places of India too. This October, in fact, the Corporation of the City of Panaji did not renew the trade licences of several offshore casinos. This underscores the government’s efforts to curb all sorts of gaming, including online casinos. That being said digital gaming halls have become increasingly popular in India, thanks largely to a burgeoning middle class and the availability of such games on the internet. This access will increase soon, as the government has vowed to provide every village with Wi-Fi by way of GramNet. This, in turn, will mean greater access to more potential players. Perhaps cognisant of the increasing popularity of online casinos the Law Commission has begun pushing for softer gaming regulations, where governments will grant operating licences to Indian operators only. The move has met stiff opposition, but it could be the government’s way of getting a share of online casino revenue, which is reportedly in the billions already.


Thailand is also known for having draconian rules on gambling. These rules, however, do have some loopholes. Expatbet’s extensive guide to Thailand’s casino industry notes that even though any form of gambling (except horse racing and the lottery) is illegal, placing bets online is much less regulated. This means there is a considerable market here for online casinos, as they can easily take advantage of countries with no brick and mortar gaming establishments. CalvinAyre’s in-depth article on the Thai gambling ban details how surveys show a significant portion of the Thai population engaging in online games. Notably some 3.3 million citizens (about 4.6% of Thais) are said to have played in internationally licenced online casinos. This shows how the online casino industry is growing despite the best efforts of the government to limit any online activities.


Online casinos are not technically illegal in the Philippines. This has made it a go-to destination for offshore gaming companies. They only need to obtain a licence from the Philippines Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) to operate as a Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator (POGO). Many of them target Asian gamers, notably those in China, Thailand, and India. And they are making lots of money. PAGCOR estimates that the revenue from POGOs — numbering 58 at the moment — will reach over $157 million (₹11.2 billion) this 2019. That figure is likely to increase moving forward, with PAGCOR set to licence 3 more POGOs in the near future.

Continued growth is a possibility

Based on these four major markets alone, it seems likely that the online casino industry will continue growing in Asia. That’s because this gaming alternative continues to attract more and more players, not only in the countries listed here, but also in other Asian countries as well. Suffice to say even bigger years are in store for this already robust industry.