The surge of online casinos in Asia: Leading countries and key drivers

Asia could soon become the largest online gambling market in the world if more countries legalize the industry. For a long time, Asian countries remained quiet while the rest of the world made laws to permit sports betting and online casinos.

Now, Asian countries are changing their gambling laws left, right, and centre, from China to India. In this article, we’ll highlight the top countries leading Asia in embracing online casinos.

We’ll also explain the key drivers behind Asia’s fast-growing iGaming market. Let’s get started:

The Philippines

Online gambling is a legal grey area in the Philippines. This means you can have fun with online slots and card games at an offshore casino and you won’t be breaking the law.

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While dozens of offshore casinos accept Filipino players, 1Xbet casino is one of the most reliable brands in the Philippines. The popular casino has over 3,000 titles from software companies like Play’n GO, 1X2Gaming, Tom Horn, Betsoft, Amatic, and Quickspin.

It accepts popular payment methods and welcomes every new customer with a bonus. It also features a live casino packed with popular titles—blackjack, roulette, blackjack, baccarat and craps.

Besides online gambling, you can play slots and poker at a land-based casino. There are two major gambling regulators in the country: PAGCOR and CEZA, both owned by the government.

Gamblers arrested manila gambling den
Gamblers Arrested Manila Gambling Den

Japan

Japan has been relaxing its gambling laws in the last two decades. In 2016, the government created an Integrated Resort Development Act to create casino entertainment facilities for tourists. It then changed the law in 2018 to accommodate Japanese players

While Japanese casino fans can now gamble at local land-based casinos, most people prefer to gamble online. The country doesn’t have online gambling laws, meaning it is okay to play at an offshore casino.

Research firm Statista estimates that as many as five million people gamble online in Japan. The number is projected to hit 11m people by 2028. Many players love online casinos due to their convenience, wide variety of games, and fast payments.

India

India is one of the biggest online gambling markets in the world. According to Statista, India has 500 million gambling fans who spend over $5 billion on sports betting and casino games annually.

At least three states have legal gambling laws: Goa, Daman, and Sikkim. More states are expected to follow suit in the next few years. India’s Central government also plans to legalize iGaming at the national level.

In 2023, the Central Government invited the public to create Self-Regulatory Organizations designed to control online gambling. Authorities weren’t impressed by the Organizations created and suspended the plan.

It’s unclear how India plans to regulate online gambling. However, some insiders believe the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) will handle iGaming regulation once approved.

China

Macau overtook Las Vegas as the world’s gambling capital a decade ago. While the biggest casino brands now operate in the Chinese Island, they can’t offer their services online. China doesn’t permit online gambling.

The only form of gambling you can engage in legally in China is the lottery. The Chinese lottery is a billion-dollar industry worth $20 billion. More than 50 million people try their luck daily, with lucky winners walking away with hundreds of dollars.

Although China has strict gambling laws, offshore gambling is pretty rampant. Many operators have “mirror” casino sites inspired by popular brands in the UK and Malta. The black market gambling industry is worth $54 billion according to Business Insider, making China one of the largest iGaming markets in the world.

The surge of online casinos in Asia: Leading countries and key drivers | News by Thaiger
China set to lead the way for iGaming

Singapore

Singapore has some of the most liberal online gambling laws in Asia. The city-state controls iGaming through the Gambling Regulatory Authority (GRA). The organization has strict standards for online casinos seeking a license in the country.

Singapore approaches online gambling with its citizens in mind. Casinos are required to have comprehensive player protection tools. They also must protect their customers’ data using advanced data protection tools.

Besides online gambling, Singapore allows land-based gambling. There are two retail casinos in the country—Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World Casino.

The surge of online casinos in Asia: Leading countries and key drivers | News by Thaiger
Marina Bay Sands – home to Singapore’s second casino

Thailand

Gambling in Thailand is illegal. Tourists can play casino games at a couple of casinos in the country. However, the government doesn’t permit Thai citizens to gamble. In fact, it has a reputation for arresting people found gambling illegally.

Despite that, there’s a huge market for offshore casinos in the country. Up to 40% of people in Thailand say they have participated in online betting at some point.

Many people access offshore sports betting sites using Virtual Private Networks. If you like to stay on the good side of the law, consider betting on the lottery. It is legal.

Gambling den Don Mueang Bangkok raided
Gambling den Don Mueang Bangkok raided

Vietnam

Vietnam has a blanket ban on gambling. However, it has a few casinos open for tourists only. The only way to gamble legally in the country is to participate in the state-run lottery.

Some Vietnamese casino fans cross the Cambodian border to play slots and table games daily. Cambodia has dozens of casinos along its Vietnamese border. The primary target for these establishments is Vietnamese players.

On the Internet, Vietnamese sports fans can bet on football through offshore sportsbooks. However, the government blocks foreign gambling platforms occasionally. This means the only way you can access overseas-based casinos is with the help of a VPN.

Georgia

Although Georgia is culturally European, it is located on the border between Europe and Asia. It has legal online gambling laws. The only catch is that players, of course, must be over 18 years old and use a licensed online casino.

The iGaming market is relatively small compared to most Western European nations. The industry generates €32 million annually. For comparison, remote gambling in the UK is worth €15 billion.

The surge of online casinos in Asia: Leading countries and key drivers | News by Thaiger

Asia is a largely untapped online gambling market. Most countries on the continent either ban or have no iGaming laws. Despite that, there’s a huge demand for iGaming platforms in Asia.

More than half a billion people gamble online in India. Millions more bet on sports in South, Central, and Eastern Asia.

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Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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