Last March, the iGaming Asia Congress was held at the Grand Hyatt in Macau. In its own way, the event has become one of the foremost gatherings of industry leaders to talk about the gaming industry in Asia. Our very own Angelia Ong was in attendance during the three-day event and she managed to talk to one of the speakers, Silver Goose 8 executive director Aris McKay Lacuna. As the head of one of the biggest Internet gaming providers in Asia, Lacuna is an unquestioned authority in the business. He’s currently serving as co-manager to a team of operators, odds-makers and business developers in running cost-effective online and ‘onsite’ sports betting, and land-based sports gaming facilities.
So, obviously, the man knows what he’s talking about, especially when broached on the topic of junket systems and its online equivalent, agencies.
“The junket system is a land-based jargon,” Lacuna said. “For online gaming, we call them agencies.”
Agencies are able to market the gaming business on behalf of online companies and he added: “Agencies are paid an amount of money based on the turnover of business, not on commission.
“This now sets a difference between new online gamers and the old, traditional online gamers. [The agency set-up] is multi-tiered, starting with an online gaming operator with multiple agencies below it, likening it to a pyramid of sorts.”
The junket system is the most prevalent in Asia and runs in stark contrast to the affiliate method favored by European firms. When asked to differentiate the two, Lacuna broke it down to his belief that Asians, in general, aren’t the type to be caught wide-eyed with affiliate promotions.
“The Asian way of doing things is very straight-forward. They don’t want so much busy sites; what they want is basically the game itself,” Lacuna said. “I think that’s the major difference between the Western set-up as compared to the Asian set-up.”
In conclusion, Angelia posed the question a lot of European companies are seeking an answer to: what is your advice for European operators who are thinking of expanding their business in Asia?
To that, Lacuna was direct to the point. “Accept the mindset of Asians,” he said. “If they learn to accept how Asians gamble, they would be more successful doing business in our region.”