China’s relentless online gambling battle may shift its focus from Asia to Europe according to an analyst. If this happens, the European gaming industry would be greatly affected.
On Tuesday, Paul Leyland from Regulus Partners opined that China may soon shift its focus from the Philippines and Cambodia to European online gambling sectors.
In his keynote speech during the SiGMA gaming conference, Leyland explained that China was a driving force globally. He illustrated the country’s influence by suggesting that if politicians were to choose between online gaming and China, their response would be an obvious and easy answer because the country is no one’s cup of tea. This he said at the KPMG Gaming eSummit held in Malta during the SiGMA event.
While it can be argued that not many European operators offer services to China, the logos of soccer jerseys around the continent speak for themselves. Most of these logos show a connection with the country from the symbols to the wordings.
This definitely points out that the EPL League has a huge following in China. Operators invest in jersey sponsorship, not for brand visibility only but also as a bridge to reach domestic markets where gambling is illegal.
In mainland China, for instance, gambling is illegal with the exception of state lotteries and sports lotteries (also controlled by the state).
According to Casino.org, Bet365, UK’s betting giant defended its operation in China by quoting that there was no legislation that prohibited operators outside China to offer gambling services to fans in the mainland.
In retaliation, Beijing’s large internet cop’s army has been used as the tool to stop operators like Bet365 and others from reaching their audiences. The main tool used is the Great Firewall whose main goal is internet censorship.
Currently, China’s focus is on South East Asia as operators mainly from the Philippines, are barred from using domains to serve online gambling to fans in the country. The central government of China through its program the “Great Firewall” is blocking online gambling sites.
The Chinese Embassy based in Manila issued a warning to the Philippine authorities to put in place preventive measures to bar operators who allow Chinese fans to gamble on their site. The embassy also wanted the authorities to punish the perpetrators.
Philippine authorities defended their position by interjecting that there many Chinese people around the world and could not be prohibited to play simply because they were not in China.
As though that was not enough, Beijing demanded that the Philippines should end all its online gambling. However, Manila is not relenting.
For Cambodia, the politburo has been successful since it accepted to end its online gambling industry completely. The superpower must have given a stern warning for the country to yield to the demands.
Leyland thinks that this shift in Asian markets will not end there because Europe could be next in line. In his opinion, China’s geopolitical tension will continue to grow and will have implications on the online industry at large. Implications that analysts like himself haven’t thought about it yet.