The recent events in which China was involved affected the gaming action in Macau. The state’s gambling revenue took some hits due to the trade war between China and the United States of America, but it was also affected by the protests in Hong Kong.
All these weakened the already unsteady local economy and China’s strict anti-online gambling policies haven’t helped either. And this pressure could soon affect Europe as well, some analysts say.
During the KPMG Gaming eSummit in Malta, Paul Leyland who is the representative for Regulus Partners pointed out China’s efforts to disrupt both traditional gambling and online gambling. The country has put on a political effort to close down illegal land-based gambling and arrested thousands of people responsible, as well as confiscated hundreds of millions of dollars.
Even though China has regulated gambling, these actions haven’t stopped and the country also disrupted gambling operations across Asia. Paul Leyland specified that the online gambling industry tended to look away from these actions, as they did not affect the online environment, but that he believes that the online environment is next to follow.
Are other Asian countries affected?
Moreover, China also took action into convincing other Asian countries to crackdown online gaming, even though there is no clear reason behind it. Even so, Cambodia was convinced by these efforts and this past August announced that the country will not issue any more gaming licenses. Plus, the existing licenses issued will not be renewed when they expire. China has been trying to push the same actions into the Philippines, but so far without success.
Paul Leyland also commented on the fact that the Asian gaming markets are shifting from land-based to online, and China’s government does not approve of that. In addition, it started putting even more amount of pressure on the Philippines to act against it.
As China is a strong geopolitical player, it can put pressure to the international online gaming industry, until faced with the choice between having the country as an ally and protecting online gaming, politicians in other parts of the world might vote to shut down the industry. Leyland also thinks the bubble is going to keep increasing and, when it finally pops, there will be some interesting and historical changes which we will have to face.
As for China’s influence towards the European Union, it is most likely that the union will not surrender under the pressure. Even though every country has the right to govern as it sees fit, we are seeing that the EU is more interested in the economic benefits that gaming brings. Plus, countries in the EU have well-established legislation to keep gambling under control and to make the best of it, continuing to protect its citizens at the same time.