It’s no big secret that the demand for gambling is huge in Asia. This was a massive untapped market for a long time but developers in the real world have seen the light. Today, gambling in Macau alone is worth $45 billion. That makes it a market 7 times bigger than Las Vegas.
Online casino sites are doing big business in the Asian market as well. So if you hail from the Asian region, there are plenty of places to play real money games right now. Asia encompasses quite a bit of territory, so the options willvary from one country to the next. However, I do have a list of casinos that are available to customers from most Asian countries. Let’s look at those first and then talk more details below.
Stick with the Big Names
There are a lot of small Asian casinos with odd names out there. Sometimes these casinos with funny names are run by smart people who serve a specific niche market, but you need to be very careful. Online gambling law is unclear in many parts of Asia and that means you won’t necessarily have recourse if something goes wrong.
Your money will be about a hundred times safer if you stick with the big names on this page. I picked these sites because each of these has a large European presence and some even have licenses to operate in the UK (which has strict licensing standards).
My best advice is to stick to the Asian casino websites recommended above. There’s no sense in putting your hard-earned money at risk when you have plenty of perfectly reputable sites to choose from. You’ll be glad you did in the long run.
The legality of online gambling in Asia is a big topic. We’ll be adding country-specific pages in the future to dig deeper into the details and give you more useful information. For now, I’ll just talk about the region as a whole, however useful that may be.
Many Asian countries have laws on the books against gambling but enforcement is sporadic. For example, it’s supposed to be illegal to place wager online in China, but the Chinese online gambling market is huge. As long as you don’t go around playing in public or try to start your own betting operation, you should be fine.
Online casinos reside in a legal grey area in most of Asia. It’s an activity that’s not exactly legal, but also not outright illegal. This makes it difficult to give you definitive answer without knowing exactly which country you call home. What I can say with certainty is that most Asian gamblers have easy access to online casinos.
Internet censorship is becoming one of the most common and effective ways anti-gambling governments are fighting against online casinos. For example, Singapore recently instituted a country-wide internet block of known gambling sites. Visitors to online casinos may now be greeted with messages that explain online wagering is prohibited.
Meanwhile, the Philippines have become a major licensing hub for Asia friendly gambling sites. The situation there is interesting because sites licensed in the Philippines may accept customers from other countries, but NOT customers from the Philippines. However, Filipinos can safely bet at casinos licensed in other jurisdictions.
In the end, it will serve you best to do a little research before you play real money games from any Asian country. You should understand the law where you live and make sure it’s safe to gamble online where you live. As the old saying goes, it is better to be safe than sorry.
Asian Gaming Laws by Country
Discussing the Asian region as a whole is only useful as a very basic introduction. When it comes to playing online for real money, you really ought to know the laws where you live. Asian countries may have certain similarities in general, but the laws vary by a wide margin from country to country.
Bangladesh is home to outdated gaming laws that prohibit online gambling in theory only. The reality is players can easily go online and find casino sites that accept Bangladeshi customers. Gaming laws do not present the biggest challenge here, banking laws do. Banking laws make it difficult to deposit via certain popular payment methods, but there are alternatives. You can read all about those alternatives and more by following the link below.
Cambodia resembles many other countries by prohibiting gambling, but doing very little to actually prevent people from playing online. Finding online casinos in Cambodia is easy and the options are plenty. Our advice is to stick with international casino sites that are headquartered in other countries and licensed by their local gaming regulators.
China is one of the most difficult countries in Asia when it comes to gambling online thanks to strict anti-gambling laws and the Great Firewall that seek to prevent citizens from visiting casino sites. Even so, China is known for having a huge gambling appetite and many online casinos are happy to accept Chinese customers.
Hong Kong is one of a small number of countries in the world that actually punish individual gamblers for visiting online casinos. Being caught visiting a casino site in Hong Kong can result in jail time and fines. It is difficult and risky to find places to play online here for these reasons.
India is in the process of modernizing its gambling laws and things are bound to change over the next few years. Some states have changed their laws to permit online gambling, but progress has been slow and much work remains to be done. Many international online casinos happily accept Indian players and support local language plus rupee deposit methods.
Indonesia does not have much of a gambling culture owing to its Muslim sensibilities and strict anti-gambling laws. That being said, some casino sites do accept Indonesian customers nonetheless. Players should be aware that the law does prohibit all forms of gambling. Additionally, an internet censorship policy can make it difficult to access gambling websites.
Japanese gaming laws prohibit the operation of online casinos and participating in unauthorized gambling, but there is little-to-no enforcement when it comes to individual people choosing to play online. You will have few issues finding online casinos that are happy to accept your business. Until the law changes, the best Japanese casinos sites will be those that are licensed and regulated by overseas regulators.
Malaysian gaming laws clearly prohibit participating in unauthorized gambling, but all indications to date are that the authorities are more concerned with providers than they are with players. Many people from Malaysia have played online with no trouble even though the law could, in theory, be applied to the mere act of playing online. However, we have no indications that Malaysian authorities spend their time bothering individual players.
The Philippines has had an on-again-off-again relationship with online casinos in recent years. The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) issued licenses to casino sites for a time, rescinded those licenses on orders from President Duterte, and then began issuing licenses once again. The gaming laws here are confusing, but gamblers do have a few options for playing online today.
Whether or not Russia counts as an Asian country is up for debate, but one thing that’s certain is the country has an appetite for gambling. A nationwide ban in 2009 nearly destroyed the domestic gambling industry, but Russia is slowly coming around to embrace online gaming once again. A handful of sports betting sites have been granted licenses in recent years, but Russia is still fairly restrictive in terms of casino-style gambling.
Singapore prohibits online gambling, but appears to take little interest in actually prosecuting individual players. Care should still be taken when deciding whether or not to play online, however, because the law clearly prohibits the act of playing online. All online casinos that accept customers from Singapore are headquartered overseas in countries that are not hostile to online gaming.
South Korea is home to fairly restrictive gaming laws, but has so far refrained from going after people for playing online at overseas casinos sites. The government does not block access to offshore online casinos and players have a decent number of international casino sites to choose from. However, players should know the government did once threaten to go after citizens for playing online at foreign casino sites.
Turkey permits a few limited forms of gambling managed by state monopoly providers and prohibits everything else. Current gaming laws call for players to be fined if caught playing online, but it is unclear if the government actively targets players today. Banking restrictions and internet censorship further complicate the matter. Depsite all this, there are a few online casinos that accept players from Turkey today.
In Vietnam, there is a vast disparity between what the law declares and what the people actually do. Nearly every form of gambling is prohibited, but Vietnam is home to a thriving underground gambling industry. Underground casinos are frequently raided in the real world, but the authorities do not seem too concerned with rounding up people who place a few bets online.
Online Gambling is Different in Asia
It would be silly to paint a region as big as Asia with a broad brush, but I’m going to try to explain a couple things that some Asian casino sites do differently. A lot of this comes from my experience in dealing with Asian bookmakers, but since most gambling sites combine sports betting and casino gambling in one product, it all somewhat applies.
Asian casinos work with a whole different system of financial processing. These casinos accept unique currencies and work with Asia-specific deposit methods. You might find a few familiar names on an Asian casino’s deposit page, but you’re also going to see methods that aren’t found in their Western counterparts.
Local debit cards, Skrill and Entropay are all fairly popular deposit methods that are often found at Asian betting sites. If you find a gambling site that accepts Skrill, that’s a great option. Skrill works with dozens of currencies and has a deep understanding of the Asian market.
As convenient as these deposit methods may be, cash is still king in the Asian gambling culture. The best casino sites understand this and go to great lengths to make it possible for gamblers to convert their cash into digital currency that they can wager online. This is sometimes accomplished via anonymous prepaid cards and withdrawals that can be claimed at ATMs. In other cases, local agents are used to facilitate cash transactions.
Working with Agents
The agent concept will seem strange to Westerners not familiar with Asian gambling websites. Agents are unique to sport betting, but you might as well be aware of the concept. With the agent system, customers connect with individuals in the real world who act on behalf of the betting site. The agent is responsible for finding new customers, setting up betting accounts, collecting money and disbursing money.
Some of the smaller Asian betting sites don’t even accept new customers online; every person who wants to bet must first meet an agent. The agent in turn sets up the account for the player and is that player’s contact point for making deposits and getting paid. Agents aren’t actual employees of online casinos – they are more like affiliates who earn commissions for managing valuable customers.
Trust is the vital ingredient in the agent-customer relationship. The agent needs to trust that the customer will pay up. Wagering on credit is very common at Asian gambling sites. If the customer doesn’t pay, the agent takes the hit. Likewise, the customer has to trust that the agent will pay up when the customer wins. If the agent runs off with the money, the gambling site doesn’t step in to fix things. The operator sees it as a private transaction between a customer and an agent that went wrong.
So, why would anyone use an agent? Two big reasons are credit and easy deposits. Agents can help people bet on credit (which is huge in Asia) and they sometimes have access to deposit methods that you don’t. For example, if you want to deposit with Skrill but a casino doesn’t accept Skrill from players in your country, you could instead work with an agent. If you know the agent in person, you can even hand the agent cash and he’ll finish the deposit for you.
If you have the option, it’s best to avoid dealing with agents and just open accounts directly at reputable online casinos. There’s no need to bet on credit and you can usually find a deposit method that works well enough to get your account funded.
Gambling on Credit is Big in Asia
Gambling on credit is quite taboo in the Western world. In most places, it’s illegal for a casino site to even grant credit to customers. It’s a whole different story in Asia. The laws are different and even the biggest Asian casinos operate under questionable legality. The rules just aren’t as cut and dry.
In any case, some Asian online casino sites are more than happy to grant lines of credit to customers. It is hugely profitable because people are more likely to bet more when they don’t have to make a deposit first. The casino or its agents square up with the gambler 1-2 times a week or once a month.
The system of betting online with credit is associated with all sorts of problems… but it is insanely profitable. If your casino site or an agent ever extend an offer of credit, turn it down. It may feel like a compliment, but it’s really just a calculated move to squeeze more money out of you.