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Experts: Asia to Make Majority of Online Gambling Market

26 Feb 2004

ASIA – As reported by MCNBC: "…Operators of gambling Web sites have long viewed Asia as the promised land, believing that widespread prohibitions there have created a vast reservoir of pent-up demand for their borderless product.

"'The market is huge, and I think everybody knows that Asian players are the most sought after … because they spend the most money and are the most fervent gamblers,'said Angela Ho, president of the Web site and daughter of Macau's legendary casino king, the 83-year-old Dr. Stanley Ho.

"Angela Ho said the Costa Rica-based site, which couples her father's name with the tripled digit that represents 'wealth' in Chinese, has recently seen monthly wagering increases of up to 40 percent by the almost exclusively Asian or Asian-speaking clientele -- a rise she attributes both to her father's fame and reputation throughout Asia and to the rapid growth of the market.

"…In another unmistakable sign that the market has come of age, other operators who focused on more-developed markets are now joining the eastward Gold Rush by creating new Web sites tailored to the Asian player.

"…Sebastian Sinclair, a gaming analyst with Christiansen Capital Advisors and a leading tracker of the Internet gambling sector, said his projections indicate that the Asian markets accounted for 16 percent of a total Net betting market of $5.6 billion in 2003 and will jump to 40 percent of a total market of $11.6 billion in 2006.

"…Many experts say they eventually expect Asian nations to constitute a majority of the market for online gambling as betting using new technologies such as wireless phones and PDAs increases.

"And while most countries currently have no laws on the books pertaining to Internet gambling, the Web site operators are betting that their offshore competition eventually will force many jurisdictions to legalize and regulate it, once they realize that they can't effectively ban it.

"…The arrival of widespread 24/7 betting on the Internet, which coincides with plans to expand land-based gambling in numerous Asian countries, already is jolting economies in the few jurisdictions that have become reliant on betting revenue, as well as raising concerns about the social consequences…"

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