The differences between the European and Asian gambling markets

Casino gambling is a pastime that has been enjoyed by many citizens in European countries over the years, however the same cannot be said for those in Asian countries. Casino gambling has been illegal in almost every country in Asia for the better part of a century, although that could slowly be changing.

Japan is in the process of constructing three integrated resorts in three separate cities, and last year Vietnam began allowing citizens access to local casinos previously reserved for foreigners on a trial basis. With the possibility of casinos being legalized in the future, accurate comparisons could finally be made between the Asian and European gambling market.

However, there are still currently many differences, such as the forms of gambling that are legal in both markets, the views on gambling that each culture holds or the presence of illegal gambling, that make direct comparisons nearly impossible.

It will be interesting to see how this unfolds as the Asian market while illegal is still active with many Japanese turning to sites that are hosted offshore. One of the most popular is Casino Secret according to Japan 101 who review the casino here. We reached out to Casino Secret to ask for player numbers but received no response but in Japan they receive an estimated 13,000 monthly searches for their brand on Google so this shows they have a large player base.

Difference in views

The countries in Europe are autonomous and self-governing, following a framework of European Union legislations. However, there is no one European Union (EU) legislation that is specific to any countries in terms of gambling services, meaning it is up to the countries themselves to regulate their own gambling services. As a result, only a few games, such as poker or sports betting, are allowed in some countries. While in other countries there are no laws that prohibit any sort of casino game. The only country in Europe where gambling is still extremely regulated is Belgium. Aside from regulation, many legitimate review and comparison sites have emerged to provide content such as a nice list of poker rooms to help players pick the right online casino.

In Asia, casino gambling is largely still illegal, save for Macau, Singapore and recently Vietnam with many conditions attached. Residents in those countries are allowed to gamble at casinos but there are many laws in place to reduce the amount of gambling done and to prevent gambling addictions from forming. Japan may be added to the list of Asian countries that allow gambling with the potential construction of integrated resorts. This has been met with opposition from local citizens and members in government due to concerns of gambling addiction. As a result, regulations have also been created here to prevent this.

Difference in gambling habits

In European countries, gambling habits are similar to those in America. Since casinos are legal and can be visited by residents, games such as poker, blackjack, baccarat and roulette among others are very popular. Sports betting is also incredibly popular, especially betting on horse racing and football. In terms of online gambling habits, some games are allowed and some aren’t depending on the country.

When it comes to the Asian gambling market, those who would like a casino experience would usually travel to Macau or Singapore. Since online gambling is mainly illegal, except for local government approved sites in Singapore, other forms of gambling are embraced. Playing the lottery is extremely popular in China, and since 1994, the Sports Lottery has generated 1.4 trillion yuan in revenue. Sports betting is incredibly popular in Japan and residents can bet on either powerboat racing, motorcycle racing, football or horse racing, which generated over $27 billion in revenue last year. The most popular gambling activity, which is described as an arcade game, is pachinko, and generates $200 billion per year.

Illegal gambling

Since online gambling and casinos are legal in European countries, the illegal gambling market is marginally small. Players who are unable to access certain prohibited online games simply use a virtual proxy network (VPN) to access other sites, visit online casinos hosted in other countries or go to a physical casino.

The exact opposite is true in Asian countries. Although there is a heavy focus by governments in Asian countries to prevent online gambling and actively track down those who break the law, it is relatively unsuccessful. Even though Macau has recently shut down 97 illegal gambling sites, the size of the illegal gambling market is huge. In 2006 it was estimated to be worth $450 billion. But this market doesn’t only relate to online gambling sites, but to government regulated sports betting where there are many claims that the matches are fixed across many soccer leagues. By this measurement, the illegal gambling market in Asia is enormously bigger than the legal European gambling market. This is an indication of how successful a legal gambling market in Asia could be.

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EUToday Correspondents

EUToday Correspondents

Our team of independent correspondents, based across Europe and beyond, are at the centre of geopolitical dynamics. We are united by our commitment to free and unbiased journalism, and our devotion to the concept of true and unfettered democracy. We take our job very seriously!

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