The iGaming Asia Congress or “iGA” serves as the one event per year dedicated to the Asian-facing online gambling industry. While the event is on the more intimate side (poised to attract roughly 350 attendees this year), the Asian iGaming market itself is anything but small. Learning and understanding how to tap into the massive Asian market has been a challenge for many iGaming operators, hence the importance of having an informative event such as iGA.
Each year iGA’s Asia-based organizers, Beacon Events, appoint an advisory board made up of leaders in the Asian-facing iGaming industry to craft the session topics, ensuring relevancy in a complex market. Beacon Events also does a nice job providing a healthy mix between sessions and networking activities, balancing the learning and face-to-face relationship-building opportunities for delegates.
The CalvinAyre.com has always enjoyed being a part of iGaming Asia Congress and here are my top five reasons why I think you should also consider attending in 2016.
Focus on Asia’s emerging markets
We are all aware of how big the potential is for online gambling in Asia, especially China. Unfortunately, the Chinese market is rather complicated due to governmental restrictions, so companies are looking to other countries in Asia for opportunities.
There are several emerging markets in Asia that are absolutely worth studying, namely India and Vietnam. iGA features an India panel during which delegates can expect legal updates, to learn the size and scope of the market, what the opportunities are, challenges for market entry, differences in local markets and tips for success.
iGA’s Vietnam panel will cover what legislation could look like, how to go about entering the market, what permits operators would need from what government agencies, how to work with the government and win their support and what Vietnamese look for in gambling offerings.
Another market to watch is Japan and the iGA session dedicated to this country will discuss iGaming opportunities for casino, binary options, sports book and lottery, understanding the nuances of Japanese gambling tastes and the impact of Macau’s slowdown on the Japanese gambling market.
70% of attendees from Asia
Now here’s the real opportunity for Western companies looking to expand into the East- 70% of iGA’s attendees are from Asia. Exposure to professionals who are experts in the Eastern gambling market is invaluable to Westerners and there is little to be learned from Westerners sitting in panels with other Westerners fantasizing about Asia.
While some of iGA’s speakers and attendees are originally from the West, a good number of them have since settled in the East and have led/are leading successful businesses in the Asia-facing online gambling sector. iGA also attracts Asian iGaming professionals representing companies such as Hong Kong Jockey Club, ESL Asia, First Cagayan, Ha Tien Vegas Entertainment Resort , GLI Asia, Asia Sports Digital, 998Bet and more.
Networking opps for like-minded professionals
With 70% of the attendees coming from Asia, having the ability to network with them is key for those flying in from overseas and in general the ability to network with like-minded individuals is beneficial for everyone.
iGA has always done a nice job of providing plentiful networking opportunities for delegates and new this year, on the second day of iGA after the conference finishes, delegates are invited to an official Beer Garden sponsored by Betsoft Gaming followed by a poker tournament.
As an added bonus, for anyone who will be in Manila prior to the conference, the next AGB/SBC Asian Gaming Networking Social will be taking place on March 18th at the Manila Peninsula Hotel’s swanky Salon de Ning. Making a few casual connections prior to iGA could make your time in Macau even more productive as you never know what doors your new connections can open.
Mobile Wagering & Gaming Day
One of iGA’s new features for 2016 includes a day of sessions dedicated to innovations in the industry. A lot of the innovation in Asia surrounds mobile offerings so sessions will cover rates of mobile penetration in Asia, the appetite for Western mobile games in Asia, social casino & skill games in Asia, developing for wearables such as the Apple watch and second screening.
Exposure to Macau
Regardless of if you like the destination or not, Macau is Asia’s main hub for gambling and understanding what makes Asian gamblers tick is paramount to success as an iGaming operator targeting this region.
I am not the largest fan of Macau, but perhaps that’s because I’m American and grew up with trips to Las Vegas, a destination with a completely different vibe to its Asian counterpart. However, I appreciate all the opportunities I have had to visit Macau as the first-hand experience has deepened my understanding of the Asian market and I assume it will do the same for you.