SiGMA Group Founder and CEO Eman Pulis has urged online gaming operators looking to enter Asia to focus less on China and more on the broader Asian opportunity that exists in the online space.
Speaking during a joint IAG-SiGMA event hosted on IAG’s online solutions platform GAME on Tuesday, Pulis noted that iGaming in Asia has long centered around the lucrative Chinese market but suggested the long-term future of the Asian online industry may in fact be found elsewhere.
“I think a lot of operators have been obsessed about targeting China and I think Asia is so much more than China,” he explained.
“I see a trend now from some operators making sure they do not touch China. The regulation is clear, the Chinese government doesn’t want operators to target Chinese players.
“But across the entire Asian region there is potential. States are less aggressive against online gambling and against regulating the space and I think if operators or suppliers or the whole industry embraces that we have a bright future to look forward to.
“Let’s keep in mind we are talking about a population of 4.5 billion in Asia. In Europe the population is 600 or 700 million people and look how successful the model in Europe has been by regulating online gaming.
“So I would say let’s stop looking into China exclusively because clearly that is not the only way to go.”
Pulis also called for the Philippines to expand the reach of its POGO industry beyond a Chinese-centric model.
“We want to see the Philippines become a truly international gaming hub, not just Chinese operators targeting Chinese players but operators from Europe, the UK, North America and South America,” he said. “We want it to become international and there is a business opportunity there.”
IAG Vice Chairman and CEO Andrew W Scott added, “Being obsessed with China, people often forget about Southeast Asia in particular, but there are 700 million people there with a very healthy middle class in countries like Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.”