Illegal gambling is here to stay for the time being a new worrying report from the Asian Racing Federation explains, cited by Asia Gaming Brief. The 94-page work focuses on the proliferation of illegal and unlicensed gambling websites that are leading to increased gambling harm, loss of financial and personal data, and undermining the integrity of sports.
Illegal Gambling Thriving in Asia Due to Lack of Regulation
The report focused on a total of 534 betting sites across 61 jurisdictions. Upon further review, the ARF established that fewer than 40% of those were in fact what would be considered “licensed and regulated.” Many of the surveyed websites operate in gray markets, with a particular focus on Asia where regulators are slower to act against such practices or lack the resources to respond.
ARF did not pick its surveyed websites randomly either, as it focused on some of the most popular and trusted global brands. At least 262 of the surveyed websites were considered to be the most visited gambling sites in the period between 2019 and 2021, which is when the survey took place.
The report also looked into a randomized sample of websites that were suspected to be classified as illegal or unlicensed. The majority of the overall sites that operate as “unregulated” have their licenses issued by the same countries and their governing bodies, to name Curacao, Malta, and the Philippines.
This means that the percentage of unregulated gambling sites by share is focused on three jurisdictions and their own licensing processes which are less than ideal. According to ARF, the bulk of the unregulated gambling sites lied in Curacao, accounting for some 31%. Second, came Malta with 18% of the total share of illegal gambling sites.
Many Websites “Assume” a Licensed Gambling Status
The report also touches on the Philippines which is a “global facilitator” of illegal gambling. Unregulated gambling operations in Asia may account for up to 80% by the ARF’s estimate, but this is difficult to confirm. Still, the report argued that 39.75 billion of the total visits going to gambling websites in the surveyed period were placed on unregulated websites. These visits account for 76% of the overall traffic going to gambling sites during the surveyed period.
Illegal gambling operations are also developing rapidly as their ill gains have enabled them to focus more on branding and marketing, extending better bonuses, and generally benefiting from the laxity that comes with the lack of an overseeing body to get in the way. Junkets are partly to blame, the report says, as junkets have made it possible for illegal gambling to thrive, but things are finally shifting online where it will be even harder to regulate.
Asia, for the time being, remains lawless and illegal gambling is bound to thrive there for many, many years to come.