Increased competition from the booming Asian gaming market is having a serious impact on Australian land-based casinos including over 300 layoffs at the popular Crown Casino, according to a report in the Sydney Morning Herald. In addition to the layoffs, Crown is also spending as much as $2 billion refurbishing older properties in the hope of attracting free spending whales from the Asian continent.

Asia Rising

Whether a mere $2 billion will be enough to compete with mega casinos in Macau or not is a pretty big question. Developing some properties on the former Portuguese colony has cost as much as $20 billion. But booming business there has made big investments more than worthwhile.

As large as the Macau market has become, it’s barely the tip of the Asian gaming iceberg. The gaming world collectively gasped last month when reports circulated that the two legal casinos in Singapore brought in more revenue than the 39 Las Vegas properties combined.

Other Asian Pacific countries including Vietnam, Japan and Malaysia are also seriously considering legalizing gaming. A recent report from Price Waterhouse suggested that the Asian gaming market could be worth as much as $62 billion by 2014.

Asian iGaming

The impact of the Asian gaming boom is going to ripple far beyond its neighbors in the Pacific and could mean big business for affiliate partners. But taming this dragon is not going to be easy. Asian governments are not necessarily keen on the idea of legal Internet gambling.

Reactions to iGaming range ambivalence in places like South Korea to repression in China. In China, the government retain a very firm grip on Internet content and isn’t likely to give that up any time soon.

There’s also a chance that those same governments might be interested in running online gaming themselves. Those Singapore casinos were planned by the government and it’s possible they could embrace the same model online. And unlike the situation in Europe, there’s no central trade authority in Asia to keep governments from claiming gaming monopolies for themselves.

Getting Ready for Asia

Jumping into the Asian iGaming market isn’t something an affiliate will be able to do without serious preparation. This is a long term play that involves overcoming cultural differences and providing Asia Pacific friendly content and games.

To understand the potential of this new market for affiliate, look at what’s happening with Baccarat. Thanks to Asian whales it’s become the biggest table game in Las Vegas. Whether those same whales will be interested in online Baccarat is another question.  But video game culture is very popular in Asia and would likely carry over to online casinos.

With potentially enormous revenues lying in wait, all eyes in the gaming industry are focused squarely on Asia. Speaking of, Bodog is one affiliate program that’s gearing up for the Asian market by dedicating a large portion of their marketing dollars there. At LAC this year, Bodog had Asian-themed everything to mark its foray into the new market.

Sign up for the Bodog program and be there when they enter Asia.

Are you getting ready to jump in the Asian market? Share your ideas on our General Discussion Forum.

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