Search the Community
On paper, the Asian market would appear to be one of the highest untapped online gambling markets currently in existence. It covers approximately 60% of the world’s population, boasts highly educated people with easy access to the latest technology and in many cases an impressive amount of disposable income. However, due to religious and political regions, many Asian countries hold a negative view of gambling in any form, only allowing it at land-based venues to make more money off their foreign visitors. To gain a better understanding of the specific views of major regions, what they currently allow and what developments are in the pipeline we discuss Asia under three headings: Asia’s Shining Stars: regions where gambling is thriving Diamonds in the Rough: regions most likely to allow online gambling Here Be Dragons: regions where all gambling is banned These heading refer to the region’s stance on gambling, whether they are open to online gambling or not will be discussed as part of its review. Asia’s Shining Stars While gambling faces opposition across most of Asia there are two regions where the pastime is welcome with open arms, Macau, and the Philippines. ✓Macau Macau (also correctly spelt Macao) is the hub of Asian gambling, often being referred to as the Las Vegas of East. Though while Las Vegas might have Macau beat when it comes to landmass the former Portuguese colony has been known to generate three times the revenue of Vegas, reaching nearly $30 billion in 2019. In addition to being a global tourist destination, Macau also serves as China’s gambling outlet. While gambling in China is strictly forbidden its citizens may travel to Macau to gamble without fear of reprisal. While gambling in Macau is open to all who land there the one area where there is still some resistance to online gambling. Much of this resistance is thought to be since so many Chinese business people gamble in Macau and the Chinese government concerns about controlling what its citizens do online. ✓Philippines When it comes to noteworthy eCommerce markets the Philippines is unlikely to make your top list however market research proves that this is an up and coming online sales hot spot. A recent market forecast report by Statista shows that online sales in the Philippines should surpass the $5 billion mark by the end of 2021. This sizeable investment in online retail is not purely from a small segment of big spenders. GlobalWebIndex reported that of the 110 million people living in the Philippines more than 69 million are regular internet users with 75% of those aged between 16 and 64 already active online shoppers. This bodes well for the potential of online gambling when one considers that not only does the Philippines have a well-regulated gambling economy, but it allows offshore casino operators to offer online slots and other casino games to Filipino players. There is some confusion regarding holding a Filipino license since two options are on offer. The country’s two gambling boards, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) and the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA), each offer their own license. However, neither license allows the licensee to offer casino games within the border of the country. In an ideal world, PAGCOR and CEZA can create a joint license agreement that allows the operation of an online casino within the Philippines that can also target Filipino players. For now, offshore casinos are free to reap the benefits of the Filipino love of online shopping and entertainment. Diamonds In The Rough These Asian gambling jurisdictions may offer casino games but only under heavily restricted circumstances. While they are not free gambling markets with their proverbial “toe in the water” they are best positioned to pivot to an open-license system. ✓Hong Kong As with Macau, Hong Kong is seen as an administrative region of China. This means that while the region is afforded some level of autonomy China feels empowered to step in and change or amend laws as they see fit. This has led to Hong Kong having a thriving local gambling market where players over the age of 18 can gamble at any of the country’s approved venues. All land-based betting in Hong Kong falls under the monopoly of the Hong Kong Jockey Club. To enjoy a night playing blackjack, roulette or even the slots one will have to board a dedicated gambling cruise ship which then goes out beyond the island’s legal territory before any casino gambling can take place. Online gambling is once again heavily restricted due to China’s influence over Hong Kong. However, Hong Kong is currently undergoing a resurgence in the call for its independence from China. Should they succeed, this could see the online casino market become a key player in their financial growth. ✓India India is one of those territories that holds a lot of potential for offshore casino operators despite gambling being illegal in the country. The reason for this is their lack of clarity in formulating their laws. India’s Public Gambling Act (1867) and Prize Competition Act (1955) in no way address online gambling due to the era in which they were composed. Despite this, they are still the applicable gambling laws in the country. The government did write the Information Technology Act of 2000 into law however this fails to define either gambling or online gambling and does not specifically address whether games of chance or games of skill are legal or illegal. With a growing middle class, large scale internet penetration (specifically amongst mobile users) and a population of 1.3 billion adults (over 18 years of age) India is one of the hottest online gambling markets in the world. ✓Japan Historically gambling in Japan has been frowned upon as it was seen as a wasteful way to risk hard-earned money or property. However, in 2018 the government approved a change in the local laws which would allow for the development of three integrated casino resorts (IR). The recent plans to break ground on the first IR in Yokohama later this year came to a grinding halt when anti-casino mayoral candidate Takeharu Yamanaka won the election. However, there are still four other cities, Tokyo, Nagasaki, Osaka, and Wakayama, which are open to being the first casino resort in Japan. While it is early days for casino gambling in Japan the legalisation of a once-banned activity is a massive step in the right direction. And with casino operators such as Melco Resorts and Entertainment, Sega Sammy Holdings Inc, Shotoku Corp, and Genting, Singapore Ltd pushing the development ahead we are hopeful for the inclusion of an online casino app in their roadmap. ✓Vietnam Following Japan’s lead 2018 also saw Vietnam unexpectedly legalise betting on greyhound and horse races, begin accepting bets on soccer matches and open several land-based casinos to serve foreign visitors. The country is also currently testing the viability of allowing locals to gamble in these casinos given that they meet certain criteria such as a minimum income threshold. Given the country’s history of severely restricting gambling and punishing those who contravene its laws, this is a major breakthrough for the industry in Vietnam. While there is no specific intention to address online gambling in the immediate future, we are hopeful that the local gambling authority will view online and mobile casinos as a natural technological extension of its land-based casino development. Here Be Dragons There are several Asian territories where online gambling in any form is simply not looking to make any headway. These regions include: China Taiwan South Korea Malaysia These bastions of human rights and freedom are known to take punitive measures against citizens who gamble either online or offline, including prison time, heavy fines and even blacklisting at local financial institutions. Cryptocurrency and Gambling in Asia One of the game-changing new technologies for online gambling in restrictive Asian markets has the development and adoption of cryptocurrencies. When it comes to gambling with Bitcoin these casino fans finally have a way to get around the local government policies that block their ability to make deposits or request withdrawals when playing online. However, it is not only the those looking to circumvent local gambling regulation who are looking to Bitcoin and its peers. Asian markets that offer legal online gambling are considering the adoption of cryptocurrencies to reduce costs, offer safer and more secure gambling transactions and appeal to foreign gamblers once they leave the country and head home. It is expected that markets like the Philippines who have such an active eCommerce market could lead the way in gambling with crypto as local users begin to adopt altcoins and stable coins for daily online purchases. Where To From Here? While the road to a fully licensed and regulated Asian gambling market is a long and bumpy one there are some amazing developments with once hard locked regions opening their doors to casinos – even if only for foreign passport holders. Yet as these regions become comfortable with the idea of gambling, can prove that it does not undermine the fabric of their culture, and begins to add to the government’s coffers, there is hope for adoption to speed up. The more Asian countries become pro-gambling, the more opportunities it presents for online gambling to take hold and flourish.
This year October 1st is celebrated by the Chinese as the Moon Festival, which is also known as the Mid-Autumn Festival. It is a time-honoured tradition for families to spend time together enjoying large meals and deserts, paying homage to the moon with gifts and flying lanterns in the hopes of garnering good fortune for themselves and their loved one. A Tale of Love and Devotion As is often the case with Chinese mythology and celebrations the Moon Festival comes with a rich and tragic backstory. According to Lihui Yang's Handbook of Chinese Mythology, the Moon Festival is said to tell the story of devoted husband and wife, Hou Yi and Chang’e. Hou Yi was a skilled archer who used his skills to shoot nine of the ten suns from the sky to save the world from burning to death. To thank him for saving the world Hou Yi was gifted a potion of immortality but refused to drink it as he did not want to live without his wife, Chang’e, for eternity. A thief tried to steal the elixir one day when Hou Yi had gone hunting. Not wanting an evil person to live forever and wreak havoc on those around him Chang’e chose to make the ultimate sacrifice and drank he elixir rather than let the thief have it. Now an immortal she had to leave the earth but the moon her home as a way to stay close to Hou Yi. Heartbroken at her loss but admiring her sacrifice Yi laid out her favourite fruits and cakes as a tribute to his beloved moon goddess. Prayers of Good Fortune and Health Modern-day Moon Festival celebrations focus on family values and intimacy, with large dinners much like Thanksgiving in America being the order of the day. The festival draws attention to the following: Unity – families and friends gather to share a meal and enjoy each other company Gratitude – everyone gives thanks for not only their health and provision but their loved ones Spirituality – through giving gifts to the moon and sending up lanterns people send prayers of good fortune to the gods A mainstay of the Moon Festival is the making and gifting of mooncakes. These mooncakes are thought to get the attention of the moon because they remind her of Hou Yi and how he gave them to her as gifts. This will grant you and your loved ones her favour as the moon is closely aligned with harvest, fertility, and long life. Why Celebrate Mid-Autumn in Summer? The Moon Festival is also known as the Mid-Autumn Festival; however, it is celebrated in late September to early October which is Summer in China. The reason for this comes down to the Chinese lunar calendar rather than its seasons. The festival is celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar. Unlike modern seasonal splits, the traditional Chinese lunar calendar lists Autumn as being the 7th, 8th and 9th months. “Mid-lunar-Autumn” Festival doesn’t have quite the same ring to it as Mid-Autumn Festival or Moon Festival. Celebrating with Asian Slots The bold colours and rich stories have made Asian-themed slots an increasingly popular game choice for online casino fans. Here are a few slots favouring good fortune and health for you enjoy in honour of the Moon Festival: ✓Mid-Autumn Festival slot by Iconic Gaming Iconic Gaming does a wonderful job in bringing the story of the Mid-Autumn Festival to life on the reels of this medium variance video slot. The lovers, Hou Yi and Chang’e, are shown as beautiful anime-inspired figures with the rest of the symbols including a lucky white rabbit, mooncakes and blessed red lanterns. The slot machine features, moon Wilds, Bonus symbols, up to 20 Free Spins and 243 ways to win on each spin. If fortune favours you there is up to 8820x your bet up for grabs. ✓Fa Cai Shen Deluxe slot by Habanero Habanero brings the jovial Chinese god of prosperity and good fortune to life on the reels of Fa Cai Shen Deluxe. Spin to win on reels designed to look like an ancient Chinese shrine which has been painted red as a sign of good fortune. The reels are filled with dragons, gold trinkets, jade rings and even a money tree. Combine horizontal and vertical ways to win, Wilds and up to 88 Free Spins to lay claim to the games maximum payout of €144,400. ✓Full Moon Festival slot by TPG Celebrate the love and devotion shared between legendary lovers Hou Yi and Chang’e in TPG’s 5-reel 35-payline video slot, Fool Moon Festival. The reels of this medium volatility slot are filled with the fruits and cakes that are offered as gifts to Chang’e in honour of her ascension to Moon goddess. The slot also features Wilds, Scatters, Free Spins and Bonus Game where you get to pick a treasure chest for an instant cash win.
June 25th is the day that Chinese communities across the globe will honour the longstanding tradition of the Dragon Boat Festival in 2020. The festival has a myriad mythologies and expressions from warding off evil spirits, honouring mighty dragons and celebrating the life and sacrifice of Qu Yuan, an ancient Chinese poet and leader. On this day various groups and communities gather to enjoy music, food such as rice dumplings and realgar wine and of course cheer their favourite teams on to victory as they race beautiful sleek dragon-headed boats in honour of the festival. In memory of Qu Yuan Qu Yuan lived from 340–278, and during the Zhou Dynasty spoke out against the king of the Chu royal house when he began to ally himself with the increasingly powerful state of Qin. Banished for his idealism and branded a traitor Qu Yuan began to voice his protest through the art of poetry, an act which would see him lauded as China’s first “patriotic poet” in the 1940s. As Yuan had often warned the ever power-hungry state of Qin eventually turned on its ally and overthrew the royal house of Chu, capturing its capital city Ying. In a final act of loyalist despair, Qu Yuan is said to have committed suicide by drowning himself in the Miluo River. Lovers of his idealism, patriotism and poetry are said to have rowed out into the river, at first to save him and once his demise was certain, to retrieve his body for proper burial. Some believe this practice is the origin of the Dragon Boat Festival and its races. Warding off evil In Chinese numerology the number 5 is generally considered an auspicious number however the fifth lunar month is considered a bad month. In addition to its being a bad month the fifth day of the fifth lunar is considered to be a day of great misfortune. However, it is also the day of the Dragon Boat Festival. During this time Chinese communities will try to rid themselves, their loved ones and their homes of bad luck by putting out calamus, pomegranate flowers and Chinese Ixora. Garlic strung above doorways is believed to be a potent deterrent for any evil spirits who had intended to enter your home. Images of the poisonous creatures that become more active during this time of year, including snakes, centipedes and scorpions, are stuck with nails and pins to walls and the sides of Dragon Boats in an attempt to have the dragon spirits ward them from evil and fight off illness. Dragon legends in Chinese mythology Throughout Chinese mythology, the dragon has held a place of honour. For those, it finds to be of worthy character the dragon chooses to be a symbol of power, strength, and good luck. There are said to be nine Chinese Dragons, creatures of great wisdom who are kind to the Chinese people, these are: Tianlong a celestial dragon who protects the celestial palace Shenlong a blue spiritual dragon who controls the winds and rain Fucanglong a dragon of hidden treasures which lives underground protecting precious minerals Dilong a dragon who lives underground and controls rivers and streams Yinglong a winged yet hornless dragon who befriended and served the Yellow Emperor Jiaolong a primal aquatic dragon Panlong a water dragon who controls time Huanglong is believed to be dragon form of the Yellow Emperor Long Wang is considered to be the dragon king The Chinese dragon was so highly venerated in ancient times that there is a local proverb that loosely translates in English to "Hoping one's son will become a dragon". These ancient people even considered dinosaur bones to be the remains of the dragons from their myths and legends with the Chinese term for dinosaurs till today being “terror dragon”. Dragon-themed Asian slots This love of dragons as symbols of power, luck and good fortune has carried through to the development of Asian video slots where Chinese dragon is a prominent symbol. Here are five Asian slots that pay homage to these venerable creatures: ✓Dragon's Luck Megaways slot by Red Tiger Gaming Red Tiger unleashes the full power and majesty of the dragon in their Dragon’s Luck Megaways slot. Tap into the ancient powers at the dragon shrine set high upon a mist-shrouded hill to win up to 10,000x your bet. The reels of Red Tiger’s gorgeously depicted temple-setting are filled with classic Chinese symbols of wealth and good fortune including lotus flowers and Koi fish. Even the lower value symbols have been made to look like Chinese calligraphy. To help you on your journey to good fortune the slot offers collectable coins, giant symbols, upgrading symbols and up to 117,646 Megaways to win. ✓Royal Golden Dragon slot by Swintt Game developer Swintt whisk you away to a world filled with awe inspiring Chinese dragons and big win potential. Find favour with these ancient gods in their temple and you could be rewarded with up to 5832x your bet. The reels of Royal Golden Dragon slot are guarded by two golden Fu-dogs and each spin will see you summoning forth instantly recognisable Chinese symbols. These symbols of wealth include a gold ingot, a golden tortoise, a golden bell, a Ming vase and gold coins. Being blessed with the presence of the Royal Dragon could see you unlock the slot machines Free Spins feature which is the only time you can trigger the games maximum reward of to 5832x your bet. ✓East Sea Dragon King slot by NetEnt Ancient Chinese mythology saw dragons as beautiful and bold giving them exaggerated features and bright colours. NetEnt lean into this vibrant cultural expression with their East Sea Dragon King video slot. NetEnt has set the reels of the slot deep in the ocean where this dragon is king and filled them with bold symbols of good luck and wealth. This includes red baskets filled with gold ingots, states carved from green jade, giant flawless pearls and golden coins. The high variance action of East Sea Dragon King slot also brings great rewards with expanding symbols, wilds and respins leading to way to wins of up to 6000x your bet. ✓Dragon Match Megaways slot by iSoftBet Find your centre atop a serene mountaintop in a mist-covered garden in iSoftBet’s Dragon Match Megaways slot. If luck favours you these ancient Chinese spirits and totems could be the catalyst of your good fortune. iSoftBet has created a bold richly coloured setting where enormous golden dragons flank the reels set in a temple-like structure. The shape of the building allows for an unusual 3-5-5-3 base game layout filled with dragons, drums, lotus flowers and other symbols of good luck and prosperity. Thanks to the slot machines Dragon Match feature, Free Spins and 3136 Megaways to wins you could be rewarded with up to 20,000x your total bet on any lucky spin. ✓Dragons Lucky 8 slot by Wazdan Wazdan’s Dragons Lucky 8 slot sees you paying your respects to these ancient beings through the fruits on the reels and the spins you play. Gain their favour and you could find mystical tigers and powerful dragons coming to your aid. The temple bound reels of Dragons Lucky 8 are set against a serene mountain pass painted in soft colours and overlaid with a traditional soundtrack. Unlike other Asian slots, there are no gold ingots or lucky frogs just succulent fruits which act as offerings to the gods. A golden Wild Dragon and golden Scatter Tiger are waiting to spring into action providing you with winning combination, up to x8 win multipliers and free spins where you could be rewarded with up to 2500x your bet.