Poll results released during the recent Global Gaming Expo Asia in Macau had the great majority of industry experts believing two trends would continue: The rise in online gambling in Asia and specifically in Japan, which is poised to become the second-largest market in Asia.
While Macau, one of the world’s capitols for bricks-and-mortar casinos, sees very little business from online casino gaming, American Gaming Association head Frank Fahrenkopf said that Internet gambling was likely to emerge as “a significant part” of the global market – particularly in a high-tech nation such as Japan.
“The growth of the market in Asia has been incredible,” said Fahrenkopf and about two-thirds of those polled believed that US casino revenue would be “eclipsed by Asia in three to five years.” In fact, total revenue in Asia made from gambling rose an incredible 95 percent year-on-year in May to $2.1 billion.
These trends, plus the prospective leapfrogging of Japan into the number two position in terms of gaming revenue spent per annum would again indicate the necessity of regulation in markets like Japan and the U.S., as these governments are throwing money out the window by not regulating and taxing online casinos.
Some talk of legislation regarding the refinement of arcane Japanese gambling laws to account for regulation of online casino gambling has begun, this is only in its early stages. While gaming parlors are legal and plentiful (earlier this year, Japan was reported to be no. 2 in the world in number of gambling machines) Casino gambling is theoretically against the law, though no clear penalties are laid out. It is estimated that over 10 million Japanese citizens regularly play at online casinos and perhaps just as many more play at online or bricks-and-mortar casinos when abroad.
Upon opening the Marina Bay Casino in Macau, it was the opinion of Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson that the Japanese tend to “see gaming as a form of entertainment while Westerners would rather spend money on dining and going out with friends.”
If this is indeed the case, lawmakers would do well to implement some solid Internet gambling laws before too long to foster online casinos in Japan.