Overview of iGaming Regulation in Asia


Overview of iGaming Regulation in Asia
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The Asian region has always been quite attractive for the gambling business. The reason is both the large population and its ability to pay. But at the same time, it would be difficult to find another region where online gambling is so limited. While land-based casinos in most countries operate in one way or another within special zones, their online counterparts are prohibited by law almost everywhere. In this material, we will look at the legislative state of the gambling business in the largest countries of Asia.

Japan

This country’s gambling legislation is in many ways similar to South Korea – casinos operate only at integrated resorts, which are intended primarily for foreigners. Other gambling, including the online vertical, is prohibited by law, except for betting on horse racing and some motorsport races. Many players actively play online slots, pachinko, baccarat, and blackjack and choose a live casino for gambling.

Payment systems in Japan

Those sites that operate in the country without a license are predominantly holders of international licenses. Such operators offer many payment options: cryptocurrencies, Neteller, AdvCash, Skrill, Tether, and others. It is important to understand here that these international operators can operate in dozens of countries, so it is not a fact that all of the above methods work 100% in Japan.

China

Any type of gambling (online and land-based) is prohibited in the country. Only two state lotteries are legal – charity and sports. And the only opportunity for a foreign company to enter the Chinese market is to become a supplier of services or products for these lotteries.

The only exception in China is the special administrative region of Macau. The land-based segment is completely legalized here – casinos, dog racing, lotteries, and bookmaking, but online casinos are still illegal. Licenses are provided through concessions from the state – there are six issued in total. The holders of these documents are such giants as Las Vegas Sands, Wynn Resort LTD, etc.

Therefore, the level of competition for small companies is too high, and it is not easy to get here. The annual concession fee is about $30 million. In general, operating in Macau is not a cheap pleasure since taxes in the jurisdiction are among the highest in the world. The total load on operators is 40%. This includes 35% GGR, 1.6% contribution to education, culture, and science in Macau, and 2.4% contributions to local tourism and architecture.

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Payment systems in China

They are seriously fighting against illegal online casinos, so the country’s largest payment systems – Alipay, WeChat Pay, and Union Pay – are not available to international online casinos.

However, despite all this, payment solutions for gambling can still be found in China. For example, the Gate2Way service offers the option of bank transfer, e-wallet, or e-voucher. Similar services are offered by Signature Payments, Adyen, and Xsolla.

However, such offers are few and difficult to find. This may be because China is actively combating illegal immigrants, capital flight from the country, and money laundering. For example, during just one of the raids on the illegal market, law enforcement officers discovered and closed 2,800 platforms for making gambling payments. Because of this, payment with cryptocurrency is gaining popularity.

Philippines

But this country is the complete opposite of China since almost all verticals of the gambling business are completely legal here.

The land-based segment is presented in the form of integrated resorts, where casino games, slot machines, and other types of gambling are allowed. Also, legal betting, racing betting, and cockfighting.

The country grants licenses to offshore online operators, but on the condition that they do not extend their services to those located in the Philippines. These operators are called POGOs and are licensees of PAGCOR. Obtaining a permit is not very cheap – the operator pays $150 thousand for filing an application and its processing, the license fee will cost $200 thousand, another $300 thousand is the guarantee fee, and renewal of the license will cost $150 thousand.

The fees for processing applications in the Philippines are quite variable, and they depend on both the verticality of operation and the type of activity of the company. The full-price list is available on the PAGCOR website.

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Additionally, POGO operators must pay 5% of GGR.

PAGCOR also issues ground licenses. However, information about licensing and taxes for this segment could not be found on the regulator’s website. In 2021, a separate regulator, PIGO, was launched – it issues permits to operate online gambling within the country.

Payment systems in the Philippines

Due to the nature of the business at POGO, you can find a large selection of payment solutions: Corefy, Neteller, Entropay, Union Pay cards, Visa, Mastercard, ecoPayz, SticPay, and many others. Here, business has no restrictions since everything in the country is legal, and the choice of payment solutions will depend on the country to which the operator’s services will extend.

South Korea

This country, by law, represents a compromise between China and the Philippines – land-based casinos are legal, but the online vertical is prohibited.

There are 23 land-based casinos in the country, but only one is open to residents – other gambling houses are exclusively for foreigners. Citizens of the country can participate in state lotteries and bet on horse racing, boat racing, and cycling.

Casinos are subject to a separate regulator and are taxed at 20% of GGR.

In the betting industry, there are fixed tax rates per customer – for example, 400 won for a bet placed at a boat racing park. Specialized bookmakers pay more – 800 won for auto and bicycle racing and 2 thousand won for bets on horse racing.

Payment systems in South Korea

As elsewhere, where online casinos are prohibited, there are international operators in South Korea using payment solutions from Xsolla, Neteller, and Skrill, as well as various e-wallets and cryptocurrencies.

India

From a legislative point of view, the situation here is ambiguous. If land-based casinos are legal, then there is no direct prohibition in the laws regarding online casinos. And since the country is federal, the online vertical is regulated differently in different states of the country. In general, the three state governments allow both local operators and foreign companies to target Indian players. To do this, you need to apply for a license. Legitimate operators pay, on average, 30% GGR and 4% fees.

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In other regions, online casinos are illegal, and while some states are simply cracking down on illegal immigrants, others may arrest players from such operators.

Payment systems in India

There is a problem with deposits/withdrawals here since national systems do not process payments for operators. Therefore, most gamblers in the country use Moneybookers or Neteller services. International e-wallets are also in use, although they do not work with the rupee – PayTM, LIPI, IMP5, PhonePe.

Thailand

There is already stricter regulation here – land-based gambling vertical, except for betting on races or lotteries, is prohibited by the government. The same applies to the online sector, which, however, operates illegally in the country. The choice of payments is also small – we managed to find information about Bitcoin and the service from Playtech, but it is also possible to use Skrill, Piastrix, and SticPay.

Bangladesh

The only games allowed are horse racing and lottery betting. Running an online casino can result in a fine and imprisonment. However, there are several international operators in the country offering deposits through electronic wallets such as Neteller or Skrill. Using Visa, Mastercard, or bank accounts to make deposits is not possible.

Kazakhstan

A large and promising market, which is also strictly regulated. In the country, the entire land-based segment (casinos, slot halls, bookmakers) is legal only in the territory of several gambling zones.

Only betting is legal online – the Tourism Industry Committee issues licenses for it under the Ministry of Culture and Sports. The required package of documents can be provided online. The application fee is 640 minimum calculated indicators (MCI), which, as of June 2022, is approximately $4.5 thousand.

Legal bookmakers can use local payment solutions such as Visa, Mastercard, Paybox, Wooppay, Kassa24, and Cyberplat, as well as payment services from mobile phone accounts.

There is no GGR taxation here. But the online bookmaker must pay 3000 times the MCI for each of its electronic cash registers + 10% for winnings. Cash desks are elements of taxation for bookmakers in Kazakhstan.

Payment systems in Kazakhstan

Online casinos are illegal, but the market is full of international operators with no shortage of payment solutions: Visa, Mastercard, Apple Pay, Piastrix, Skrill, Interac, and cryptocurrencies.


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