Online gambling in Asia - the rise of the smart phone
The smartphone may have been around for several years in the western hemisphere, but SE Asia is catching up. In the Philippines, internet users are expected to increase to around 41 million in 2014; whilst Indonesia and Cambodia are also showing an aggressive market uptake. Vietnam, however, takes the crown for being the fastest growing smartphone market in the entire region.
Inevitably, with this growth in internet accessibility, online gambling with companies like M88 has become much more of a draw to residents in SE Asia – particularly if they live in countries like Japan, China, Vietnam and Indonesia; where land-based gambling is largely illegal. Smartphone manufacturers have twigged that the Asian market is opening up and are keen to get their share of the profits; but high-end smartphone models aren’t proving to be as popular as they are in the west – with Asians showing a distinct preference for the cheap and cheerful “Evercross” or “Vandroid” and “ZenFone” branding.
Despite this huge growth in buying into the smartphone market; individuals in SE Asia are still shy when it comes to making online transactions – with only an estimated 3% of internet users already doing so. But this is perhaps where the advent of the smartphone will make progression happen more quickly. If you consider that Asian consumers are becoming increasing comfortable with using their mobile devices for social networking (Facebook has over 92% penetration in the region); it stands to reason that with a little encouragement, users will become more dependent on their smartphones for everyday activities – and this includes mcommerce (mobile e-commerce). Once mcommerce takes off, there is every reason to believe that Asian’s will tap into the possibility of online gambling with voracious glee.
Of course there is the issue of ISP blocking gambling sites – as is the case when trying to access blocked sites from your PC. However, tech savvy consumers need only take advantage of VPN (Virtual Private Network) technology to get around those hurdles. When you consider the appetite of Asians for gambling; can you imagine the effect having online gambling available to them at their fingertips, day or night, no matter where they are?