The Southeast Asian gaming industry is approaching a decade of success, and it shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Southeast Asia’s mobile game revenue may outpace other industries by 2023, reaching US$8.3 billion.
The big question is whether the region’s gaming industry will benefit other similar industries internationally more so than in Europe. The European gaming industry is worth US$32 billion, according to estimates. Already, the continent is home to a plethora of gaming startups, and gaming innovators are laser-focused on enhancing the industry. However, the market is highly saturated, and the opportunity to expand in the same area is rapidly dwindling. Asia could be just what Europe needs to keep attracting gaming innovators. In this article, we will look at the benefits of expanding the casino industry in Southeast Asia to the European gaming industry.
The Blaring Sirens of Expansion
The gaming industry is one of the 21st century’s unicorns, with analysts predicting a peak of more than US$200 billion by 2023. The Asian casino industry is also riding the hot wave to capitalize on the gaming craze. The countries’ dedication to the course is punctuated by news of casino legalization, gaming innovations, and spatial developments.
The rapid growth of the digital economy, increased gaming industry investments, and, most recently, the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath have all boosted Asia’s gaming industry. Because of increased smartphone ownership and access to the internet and telecommunications services, more people are seeking digital based entertainment.
Japan’s and Thailand’s Gaming Market
Japan is one of the most recent to jump on board. Despite its tumultuous relationship with gambling, it has recently announced plans to build integrated resorts. Six years have passed since the country legalized casino development, and the current decade may not end before the “Dream Island” becomes a reality. Established companies from other parts of the world are wooing the country for a piece of the potentially lucrative market. Gaming in Japan appears to be on a meteoric rise.
Thailand is also gaining attention for its growing proclivity for gaming. Historically, the country has been known for its vehement opposition to slot machines and poker tables. The Thai government only allows its sponsored lottery and horse racing betting. Opponents of casinos and related activities argue that the country’s population needs to be saved from gambling addiction. Most people believe that legalizing casinos is the equivalent of creating a breeding ground for organized crime and money laundering.
Recent events, however, are changing the landscape. Already, a sizable portion of the country’s population gambles on foreign platforms. Because of the anticipated benefits of legalization, Thai authorities are reconsidering their stance on gambling. Casino proponents argue that legalizing the industry will help reawaken the tourism industry, which was on the verge of collapsing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They believe that casino tourism will revitalize tourism and spur growth in the revered industry.
Casino legalization in Thailand appears to be closer than ever. The country may follow Japan’s lead in developing casino resorts geared toward gambling tourism. The government’s recent decision to conduct a feasibility study on legalizing gambling signaled a shift in policy. In December 2021, the Thai government selected a team of 60 experts to conduct a feasibility study for the construction of multiple casinos. If allowed, Thailand’s gaming industry is expected to be massive, similar to other Asian countries that are currently following the same footsteps.
New Prospects for European Startups
As Asia’s gaming industry grows, so will the opportunities for startups in the industry. Companies such as Ubisoft, Rovio Entertainment, and Rockstar North are looking to capitalize on the current Asian expansion. They expect to make a fortune from the region’s large population of gamers.
Fortunately, the companies’ optimism is justified because the Asian market is both fertile and welcoming. Partnerships are being formed as a result of the expansion. European startups can now look for potential partners to help them expand into the vastly diverse Asian market. They can easily customize their operations with partners to meet the needs and preferences of Southeast Asian gamers.
The expansion also makes room for acquisitions. Local businesses operating in Southeast Asia stand to profit handsomely from the expanding market. European startups can evaluate such businesses and purchase those willing to sell their operations. Even better, the legalization wave creates excellent opportunities for establishing own gambling businesses. European firms have a great opportunity to establish subsidiaries in the region, as foreign investments are usually irresistible.
European gaming startups have an unlimited opportunity to profit from Southeast Asia’s expanding gambling market. Plans to expand to other countries in the region, if well-executed, have the potential to exceed expectations.