International Game Technology PLC Announces Completion of Acquisition of iSoftBet – European Gaming Industry News

International Game Technology PLC Announces Completion of Acquisition of iSoftBet

Reading Time: 4 minutes


The Asian gambling market has accelerated since Covid 19 first opened residents’ eyes to online gambling. However, two years later, Asians are still limited in their online gambling pursuit for fun and profit due to the government’s heavy sanctions on online gambling.

Many offshore online casinos have noticed this untapped opportunity and are flocking in to fill the void. We have curated a list of offshore casinos for Singaporeans on our Online CasinoHEX Singapore website to help players make the right choice.

In this post, we want to discuss the current state of the Asian gambling market, emphasizing the online casinos in Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Japan and Thailand. We hope it brings players and operators up to speed with the current gambling laws in those less talked about Asian regions. Let’s dive in.

1. Singapore

Singapore is among the top gambling spots in the Asian continent. The Singapore government has long opened two physical betting shops where residents can engage in horse betting, sports betting and lottery.

In 2005, the Singaporean government also introduced Integrated Resort (IR), where residents and foreigners can play different casino games.

According to the bill, only two IR casinos are permitted to open, and the slots have since been taken by the Marina Bay Sands and Resort World Sentosa. The authorization of legal casino spots proved to be a good experiment as the two resorts single-handedly increased the state budget by 14.5% in their first year of operation.

Despite the success of land-based casinos, the federal government is yet to legalize any online casino in Singapore. However, residents flock to various offshore online casinos in Singapore to gamble and have fun. Singaporean casino sites host various i-games. However, most Singaporeans tend to be drawn toward card games such as Baccarat and online slots.

The government does not currently discuss online casino legalization. Still, as a country that is always open to innovation, the authorization of online casinos in Singapore might be on the horizon.

2. Malaysia

The Malaysian population are predominantly Muslim, and sharia laws are well recognized in the country. According to sharia law, all forms of gambling (land-based and online) are prohibited.

However, the Betting Acts permits non-Muslims, foreigners and tourists to engage in lottery betting, horse racing and casino games in landed properties without sanction. The betting act also prohibits every form of online gambling in the country, with strict punishment for defaulters.

Despite the law, Malaysians still gamble online, with football and badminton forming a big part of Malaysian betting options.

3. Philippines

Philippine gambling laws are flexible and friendly. The state has at least four gambling resorts in Manila and permits online sports bettings, horse racing and lottery.

The country’s licensing and gambling activities are regulated by the duo of PAGCOR (Philippines Amusement and Gaming Corporation) and CEZA (Cagayan Economic Zone). PAGCOR is responsible for regulating local betting and bingo shops, while CEZA grants gambling licenses to offshore casinos in other regions.

As a testament to the flexibility of Philippines gambling laws, the Philippine government has opened its doors to regulated offshore casinos and even permits Filipinos to gamble online. All of these combined makes it surprising that the government does not legalize online casinos.

Even without online casinos, the Philippine casino industry has grown from strength to strength. According to Inside Asian gambling (iAG), 557m was generated by licensed casinos in the Philippines in Q1 of 2022, and the industry doesn’t look like it will slow down. 

The success of offshore casinos in the Philippines is an indication that the government may revisit the legalization of online casinos soon

4. Thailand

Thailand has everything it takes to be a major powerhouse in the Asian online casino and gambling market. Still, political and cultural beliefs have long stalled the growth of the country’s gambling sector.

Currently, Thailand has no legal casinos, and online casinos are illegal. But that has not stopped the residents from engaging in active casino gambling online and offline. A survey by the centre of gambling studies shows that nearly half of the Thais population gamble and that $5 billion was spent on sports betting alone in 2019.

Where there are no legal casinos, the black market and underground gambling always flourish, and Thailand’s 200 illegal betting shops are no different. The number of offshore casinos for Thais has also continued to increase.

As the government awakens to this reality, it has begun to take gradual steps to legalize casino gambling in the region, starting with establishing 2 to 3 Integrated Resorts. When casino resorts are commissioned, the government believes they will boost the state’s tourist revenue, which has dwindled since the Covid 19 lockdown. Similarly, landed casino resorts will create a regulated and safe gambling environment for Thai residents. Legalizing online casinos in Thailand is not on the horizon right now.

5. Japan

Online casinos are prohibited in Japan. Therefore, Japanese gamblers can choose among Pachinko, horse betting, motorcycle racing, and online lottery.

However, the Japanese government has since reconsidered its position on casino gambling. In 2018, following in the footsteps of Singapore, the Japanese government authorized the commissioning of Integrated Resort which will allow tourists to play casinos and sports betting in regulated spots.

The COVID-19 pandemic has slowed the progress of the landed casinos; however, the government has resumed the acceptance of proposals from interested organizations. While establishments of landed casinos don’t suggest the legalization of online casino gambling, it may be another win for the Asian gambling industry, seeing that Japan is a major trendsetter on the Asian continent.

Even though landed and online casinos are not allowed in Japan yet, the country’s betting market is estimated to reach $9b in 2022.

As you would expect, many offshore casinos where residents gamble online and play their choicest games, including slots. In place of Baccarat, the Japanese have Dragon Tiger, which enables players to wager on whether the Dragon or Tiger hand would win.

As a technology-savvy nation, it is also no surprise that the players are inclined towards live dealer games and titles enriched with crisp graphics. 


Pending the time the Asian gambling market becomes stable and regulated, operators preparing to enter the market must know that there will be periods of low revenues just as much as high turnover. However, they should find consolation in that Asia is poised to be the next frontier of online gambling when the government relaxes its laws.

So far, many Asian countries are decriminalizing casino gaming, a green light for online casinos and sports betting legalization. Current trends suggest that online slots, card games, table games and live dealers will likely dominate the Asian gambling scene. Until then, residents have to make do with betting on landed casinos, travelling to countries that permit online gambling or playing online casino games on offshore casinos.

Author: Tracey Gomez