Cambodia and Philippines are restricting their prosperous online gaming markets in response to China’s continuous demands that they prohibit these operations entirely as they are causing illegal outflow of money. While Cambodia has already announced steps to halt online gambling, Philippines remain hesitant about a complete ban.
The casinos in Southeast Asia attract Chinese customers, employees and money
The main reason why China keeps insisting that other nations’ online casinos are closed is that they are largely used by Chinese citizens, who cannot participate in these activities in their own country because online gambling is illegal in China. This way hundreds of millions of yuan bleed out of the country’s economy through unlawful channels, not to mention that over a hundred thousand Chinese workers had departed to seek employment with foreign casino operators.
Referring to this situation as “the cross-border online gambling problem,” China has been mounting pressure on the southeastern countries to interfere and put a stop to this by outlawing their own online gambling markets as well. Cambodia has already succumbed to the country’s persistence and announced that it would stop issuing new licences for online gambling businesses and once the existing ones expire, it will not renew them either.
This was applauded by China’s foreign ministry spokesman, Geng Shuang, who declared:
“We hope it will further strengthen law enforcement with China and jointly tackle criminal activities including online gambling and cyber fraud.” He went on to say that it will also contribute to creating “peace and stability in the region.”
Philippines are taking time to assess the situation
While the gaming regulator in Philippines did consent to not accepting any more applications for online gaming operations for the rest of the year, it has not committed to shutting down the market completely. Its intention is to review China’s concerns about the expanding sector. In response, China said it appreciated the move but hopes that Philippines will choose to “go further and ban all online gambling.” The Chinese embassy in Manila also demanded that the country stops employing Chinese citizens in its casinos.
However, ending its online gambling operations could seriously hurt Philippines’ economy as the industry is blooming. With more than 50 offshore gaming operators and over 138,000 people employed by the market, the generated revenue is estimated to reach somewhere around $172 million this year. The immense boom also prompted higher consumption and considerable increase in property prices in the Manila area.
The Phillipines gaming agency chair, Andrea Domingo, emphasised that though no new licenses will be issued for now, the practice remains legal. It is possible, however, that the gaming revenue growth will suffer from China’s campaign. Some signs are already beginning to show as property stocks are declining due the uncertainties which now envelop the online gaming industry.