At an event like SiGMA Malta, where so many industry experts come to meet and share their wealth of knowledge, in depth knowledge of the Asian market is still in high demand. To understand how to get a foothold in that market, our Becky Liggero Fontana spoke with iGaming consultant Simon Eaton.
So much of the Asian iGaming industry is based in Manila, Philippines, and Eaton explained that the South East Asian country has a lot to offer to businesses. “As an operator, you do base yourself in Manila, the Philippines, because you can get a PAGCOR [Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation] license and there’s easy access to staff and availability of resources,” he said.
With the Philippines as a base of operations, an entire region is at your fingertips. But where you offer to is crucial. “The countries you focus on, number one, obviously, you look at China,” he said. “But a downside look into China is if you dive into that straight away, you’re going to lose a fortune. So I say look at the other Southeast Asian countries, known as SEA. Do look at Thailand, do look at Vietnam, do look at Indonesia, Malaysia. Japan’s a wonderful market to go after, but once again don’t make Japan your entry point, or China, because they have their own issues. When it’s talk about Japan, they’re very picky, and it’s got to be perfect and it’s not perfect, don’t do it. Markets I really love to look at his Thailand, and I like looking at Vietnam, a huge number gamblers.”
Another problem western operators might face is not understanding the preferences of the Asian market. “We start on the casino side of things, baccarat, they love instant win, instant action games and baccarat, obviously, you’re betting on the banker or you’re betting on the player,” Eaton explained. “Instant action, and they love the live dealer, because they believe it’s more accurate than dealing with just regular software.”
Thankfully though, lots of what European sportsbooks are already experts in are already highly popular. “When you come to the sports side of things, you are looking at a Premier League, you’re looking at a lot of the European leagues,” he said. “That’s why it’s a great opportunity for the European companies to go into Asia itself, because you’re looking at UEFA, you looking at a Premier League, you’re looking at the Champions League, and then you’re looking at the China Super League, but that’s on a smaller level. So really, it’s a lot of the European sports that you look at, and basketball is a big one as well, NBA, and basketball in the home countries, it’s quite big.”