A casino expert claims that now is the time for Asian markets to legalize online gambling, especially considering the Wuhan coronavirus chaos. The Macau casino closures and stock market drops are “a wake-up call” for Asia to embrace online gambling.
Like the Wild West
According to Jason Ader, former board member at Las Vegas Sands, “Asia is still very much the Wild West, it’s very unregulated, but [the land-based operators] are not getting any business. The online operators and Philippines licensees are picking up most of these players,” said Ader.
Online gambling is legal in the Philippines, and the country’s POGOs (Philippines Offshore Gaming Operators) are the only legal source for online gambling in Asia now. But experts think it’s time for a change. Ader, a top-ranked gaming analyst at Bear Stearns, is one of these experts.
Online gambling is largely unregulated in Asia and illegal in China. Due to the conspicuous lack of online gambling services in Asia, many would-be gambling tourists now avoiding Macau are turning to illegal online casinos. And this is a strong signal to Ader, who said all the quarantines and travel restrictions caused by the coronavirus should be a “wake-up call” for the Chinese government and Asia in general to legalize online gambling.
“Daily online gambling is up 90% over the Lunar New Year holiday compared to last year,” Ader said. “That’s an unbelievable number, and it raises the issue of should land-based operators be converging around the world with online operators. That’s really the growing trend.”
Macau casinos have taken precautions to stop the spread of the deadly coronavirus which has infected thousands and killed hundreds. The casinos have temperature screenings at entrances and have undergone extensive cleaning and hygiene regimes.
The coronavirus has resulted in a 70% drop in Macau casino visitors compared to last year. The epidemic has also hit Macau casino stock prices hard as the market reacts to the sudden and dramatic loss in gambling revenue.
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