Current State of Gambling in S.E. Asia

Gambling has and will always be one of the most popular leisure activities enjoyed throughout Asia. The global consumption of gambling-related products has been on the rise for a consistent period of 20 years or more, but the industry of casinos in South East Asia took quite a considerable hit this year following the outbreak of the global coronavirus pandemic.

Japan on a map.

The Southeast Asia region has been hit by a series of economic shocks on an unforeseen scale. The question now will be how quickly can they recover and get back on track. ©MichaelGaida/Pixabay

With lockdowns being reinstated around the world it seems like we can never get back to the old freedoms that we used to enjoy. But it is important to remain positive in these situations, no pandemic lasts forever and this one will be no different. So what will we do whilst waiting for the scientific community to organize a vaccine for the world?

Many casinos, restaurants, hotels, and theaters around the Asian peninsula have been shut down over the past few months. But that’s not the end of the story, airports and popular travel links have been hit by major disruptions as the pandemic has forced unprecedented quarantine measures to be enforced across the world.

In this short article, we take a look back over the rollercoaster ride of the last 7 or 8 months and look closely at how the casino market in Asia has been affected. There are many similar pieces like this on the internet, and as more time passes and more data becomes available, researchers are able to make much more accurate and detailed observations regarding the events of 2020.

Before COVID South East Asian Casinos Were Flying

Some countries around the world are just beginning to develop commercial awareness for the casino industry. It’s not just the financial markets that speculate on the success and failures of the industry, but also the millions of people around the continent who rely on its function for a living. Developing nations across Asia have been able to counter huge economic shocks in 2008 and beyond by allowing a gambling industry to flourish and generate wealth for public spending activity.

In Southeast Asia, this effect is particularly noticeable. The popularity of casino gambling has quickly skyrocketed since the change in laws. But it is not the local population providing the main bulk of revenues needed for the casino business to be as profitable as it is, the foreign influx of wealth can be thanked for that. Before the outbreak of the pandemic, the biggest casinos across Southeast Asia were exhibiting year-on-year growth in a wide range of accounting and finance measures.

The growth prospects of the casino industry still remain huge, and whilst many of the industry’s biggest players are profitable. They desperately rely on the free footfall of betting customers to generate their wealth. The pandemic has meant that businesses in the sector that became overly reliant on their land-based enterprises have now become terribly exposed to the fresh economic shock. Even so, this crisis will pass just as all the ones before it has, and Asia’s casino industry can claw back lost ground.

Countries such as Vietnam, Cambodia, South Korea, Japan, and the Philippines all have hugely distributed and popular gambling enterprises within their economy’s. The speed of growth was so high that they’re now classified as the fastest growing casino markets in the world.

Online Casinos Step in to Fill the Void

Following the shutdown of the land-based side of the business-model, Asia’s largest casino firms have been on a path of innovation and thinking in a different way. The ultimate responsibility for stabilizing their own financial position lies with them, and a pivot into the online casino business proved to be the most effective way to reach their desired outcomes.

Instead of heading out to the venue in person, many punters are now turning to the online equivalents to get their service. Luckily, the infrastructure was already in place to serve this demand, the innovation was to expand the legality of the practice in such a short timeframe, allowing the necessary business functionality to be implemented.

Favorite games such as roulette, baccarat, and poker are easily transferable to the online casino, and with Asia’s online casinos allowing bets of astronomical amounts routinely across their platforms, the migration at each stage of the funnel has been without friction.

The effect has been felt in real terms too. Even the Tokyo 2020 Olympics have been postponed and possibly canceled, causing people to switch their habits from collaborative sports activities outside to collaborative online gaming activities online and in the safety of one’s own home.

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