Panel: How regulation can help online gaming in Southeast Asia

Another panel at SiGMA Manila 2024 provided insights into the developing online markets of Southeast Asia, suggesting Japan as a potential figure of influence.

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Panellists at SiGMA Manila last week got together to discuss the future of the online gambling sector in the rapidly growing Southeast Asian region.

The panel was moderated by Andrei Beu, CCO of supplier Gamingtec. Participating were: Alex Czajkowski, OG of PlayersToday, an international i-Gaming research company; Michael Charlton, Asia Pacific Director of Entain Group; and Bhavesh Parthi, Managing Director of Oppa Asia.

The topics discussed included a wide scope of subject matters from the role of AI in online gaming and the industry, financial tech and payment methods, how to combine best practices from western markets (Europe and USA) with the efficient processes in current Asian markets, to customisation and localisation of products.

One interesting question Beu asked was the experts’ view of the gaming industry in Southeast Asia and its key challenges. Czajkowski started with a brief summary of the Southeast Asia region – exciting, young and growing with lots of potential. The market has accelerated in growth, from not having any gaming suppliers a few years ago to making a mark in the industry right now, with names such as Pragmatic Play, PGSoft and Jilly. Games are very different from those in western markets.

The key challenge, however, as Charlton expanded on, is regulation. He explained the importance of regulation in gambling, amid the many negative effects of unregulated gambling. He also stated that a nation’s government is an important part in pushing for regulation. If a government has the will, regulation will find a way (even if it takes years).

Parthi also expressed his support for regulating the industry, stating that regulated gambling ensures revenue from tax collected can be channeled back into the community, funding schools, sports programs for youth and various socially-beneficial programs or plans for the nation. This particular concept, though, has not been as widely accepted by politicians in Southeast Asia today. 

In conclusion, when asked about their views of the future of the Southeast Asian sector, the panellists all agreed that regulation is a must for the region.

They concluded by stating that, if one of the more influential nations such as Japan starts regulating its own industry, other nations might feel confident to follow in its footsteps.

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