Where Can You Offer Online Casino Services in Asia?

15 December 2015

Asia currently houses the largest gambling market worldwide, and continues to show signs of significant growth thanks to the development of new technologies. Mobile devices, such as smartphones or tablets, make it possible for players to enjoy online and offline games whenever they want to, and online casino games are among the most popular ones. Even so, online gambling is still a sensitive subject for many jurisdictions in Asia, and it will be interesting to see if real-money online gambling will soon be available in countries that have a lot of potential for gaming development. Asia Online Gaming

The Philippines

Operators who want to legally open an online casino in Asia can take their best bet by choosing to obtain a license in the Philippines. The Philippines is the only jurisdiction in Asia that allows operators to legally start an online gambling site that accepts real money payments.

It also has a more complex online gambling regulatory system, which includes two authorities that offer the possibility for operators to engage in gambling activities: the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), which is owned by the state and supervises land-based casinos, online casinos, bingo halls and other types of gaming activities, and the First Cagayan Leisure and Resort Corporation, which is the master licensor and regulator for the Cagayan economic zone.  

If you are looking to open an online casino in the Philippines, you might wonder which authority you should address to. Well, there are certain differences between these two zones in the Philippines that allow online and land-based gambling. In both these regions, Philippines residents are not allowed to gamble at Philippines-licensed online casinos.

The interesting fact is that operators which do not run their operations on the territory of the Philippines can offer services to residents of Philippines. Like so, Filipinos are not subject to any law that does not allow online gambling, and they can access any offshore website.

On the other hand, operators looking to open an online casino with a site licensed in the Philippines are prohibited from offering online gambling services to Filipinos. As complex as this may sound, this gambling regulatory regime has led to a situation where PAGCOR has a monopoly on land-based gaming activities, but does not benefit from revenues brought by online operators who cater to Philippines residents.

So, the only area which is not under PAGCOR monopoly is the Cagayan Freeport, which hosts independent casinos that cater to tourists. When it comes to online gambling, the Cagayan Freeport holds its own licensing jurisdiction. Operators who want to open an online casino in the Philippines need to obtain a license from the licensing jurisdiction Cagayan Freeport. However, even if operators will own such a license, they will still not be allowed to cater to Philippines residents. Instead, they can tap into other markets that allow offshore gaming operators to offer their services to locals.

The Cagayan Freeport only offers licenses to companies that can prove that their games are fair, operators being required to use respected auditors for testing their random number generator systems.


Malaysia has a strict policy that forbids operators to base their online gambling businesses in the country. Even so, companies that are based outside Malaysia are not banned from offering online casino games to locals. This means that you cannot open a gaming site that has any physical presence in Malaysia, such as an office or a server.

Operators who want to open an online casino and cater to Malaysia residents should know that players usually access gaming sites that offer versions of the websites translated in Malaysian, and which accept the Malaysian ringgit (MYR). The majority of gaming sites that accept deposits from Malaysia residents are licensed in the Philippines, with a license from the Cagayan Freeport.


Online gambling has grown to become very popular in India, even if operators can’t obtain an online gaming license in this country. Residents of India usually go to offshore websites in order to play gambling games, and there are several gaming providers that allow players from India. Operators looking to open an online casino should support the local currency, the Indian Rupee, in order attract players from India. Gambling companies usually accept deposits which go to their Indian bank accounts, or request players to use e-wallets.

However, gambling laws in India are ambiguous, due to the fact that the gambling regulatory regime is governed by the Public Gambling Act of 1867, which clearly does not state anything about internet gambling. Offshore companies that cater to India residents are licensed in other jurisdictions, and authorities from India are supposedly not taking any actions against these operations.


In Korea, people who enjoy placing bets usually access online sports betting websites, which are sometimes permitted in this country. If you are looking to open an online casino here, you probably won’t have any luck offering casino games such as poker. On the other hand, online sports betting has grown to become really popular in Korea, and Korea residents use websites that are licensed in foreign countries which support Korean language and accept local bank transfers.


China has a long history with gambling games, but, at this point in time, online casinos in the country are prohibited. Gaming insiders say that it is possible for players to access foreign gambling sites which are authorized in foreign countries. Even so, these websites could be banned at any time by the Chinese government, so it is a little risky to try and offer online gambling services to residents of China.


The Japanese government is strictly against any type of online gambling activity, and land-based casinos are also prohibited in the country. There are a few gambling options available in Japan, such as the ultra-popular pachinko game, which is not considered a casino-style game by the authorities. Operators looking to open an online casino in Japan do not have any options here, but Japan residents still access foreign gambling sites with online casino and sports betting services which support the Japanese language and allow deposits in Japanese Yen. Many of these sites are licensed in the UK or in the Philippines.


There are only two forms of legal gambling in Thailand, horse racing in Bangkok and the Thai Lottery, but these are land-based solutions and online casino operators are not allowed to open an online casino licensed in Thailand, according to local law. Even so, gambling is widely spread in Thailand, especially since online casino players can easily access online gaming sites licensed in foreign countries which support Thai language and the currency Baht. There are several online casinos licensed in the Philippines or in the Isle of Man that support Asian languages and especially accept deposits to their local Thai bank accounts.  

Like so, if you are looking to open an online casino and cater to players from Asia, the legal and most efficient way is to try to obtain a license in the Philippines. Even though it could be a process that might take some time, you will have the possibility to offer your services to all players from the Asian territory where gambling on foreign websites is not prohibited.

15 December 2015

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