The Philippines – A Model for Asian Internet Sports Gambling

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One of the great misconceptions about the gambling community throughout many parts of Asia is there’s very little interest in betting on sports.

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Indeed, most Asian cultures love their games of chance. On a busy Saturday night in Macau or parts of the Philippines, it’s difficult to get a seat at a Baccarat (Punto Banco) table.

Throw in a little bit of Roulette, Blackjack and Pai Gow, it would seem to pretty much cover everything Asian gamblers want from their casino gambling experience.

What we know about gambling enthusiasts is if you offer it, they will come. Asian gamblers are no different. That’s why it shouldn’t be surprising that a lot of Asian gamblers have an interest in betting on sports.

What they don’t have is much availability.

Until online casinos like Gclub Casino are legalized and made available to Asian gamblers, it will be difficult to gage exactly what Asian gamblers want and expect.

Asian Interest in Sports in General

Before beginning a discussion about online sports gambling in Asia, knowledge about which sports Asian gamblers might have an interest in wagering on seems in order. Surprisingly, Basketball is an extremely popular sport in South Korea, The Philippines, Japan and China. All four of these countries have professional basketball leagues that draw a lot of international interest.

In Japan, South Korea and Vietnam, there’s significant support for professional baseball leagues. The level of baseball proficiency in Japan is second to only the US, the birthplace of baseball. Several Asian counties have significant soccer programs and offer significant support for competitive martial arts. The fact is there is plenty of support for sports that stand as important betting markets in other parts of the world. There’s no reason to assume these same markets wouldn’t be popular among Asian sports gamblers.

Bringing Online Sports Gambling to Asian Gamblers

As a point of interest, online gambling is very popular in the Philippines. Of course, that doesn’t mean Filipinos have access. The fact is the Philippines is fast becoming one of the world’s top destinations for online gambling operators to set up shop. The low cost of labour is a driving force behind European online gambling operations making the trek so many miles away. They also benefit by favourable tax rules, low infrastructure costs and regulatory protection from a government agency that seems to know what it’s doing, that agency being the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR).

There are two issues related to the online gambling industry’s existence in the Philippines. First, Filipino gamblers are prohibited from using online casino websites. That law exists mainly as a way to protect the country’s land-based casino industry from competition. The second issue has to do with corruption within the Filipino government. Real or not, it would bear watching should the government ever decide to allow its residents to use online gambling websites.

But Wait….Filipino Gamblers Can Bet on Sports Online

It’s a little-known secret that several land-based casinos in the Manila area do offer sports betting options. Both Resorts World and Solaire run legal sports books that are currently being operated by foreign interests. As someone might expect, Filipino gamblers are stepping up to bet on sports, particularly during the basketball season. The country also has a significant population of white males from America and Europe, a population that is very knowledgeable about American football and more than willing to belly up to the betting windows to make a wager on college or NFL football games.

It’s also a little known secret that the Solaire’s sports book has a sports betting website that is available to Philippines residents. The only caveat is online sports gamblers have to visit the Solaire casino in person to make deposits into or withdrawals from their wagering accounts. This is the same model online sports gamblers in the US have to follow for the time being until such time as Congress makes a move to abolish the Wire Act of 1961.

In the future, Asian gamblers are likely to make a play for access to online gambling options. It’s a good bet that any Asian country that would entertain such a notion would likely follow the Philippines model. Well into the future, it will be interesting to see if most of the world’s governments will eventually loosens the reins and allow residents to do what makes sense for all parties concerned, gamble online.

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