The Asia Gaming Summit (AGS) Taiwan has kicked off, with many of the most influential members of the industry attending, mingling, and taking the stage. Day 1 kicked off with plenty of uncertainty, as several speakers and panels focused on the ever changing regulatory environment of online gambling in Asia.
After Senior Conference Producer Giulia Jaimerot-Timarco welcomed the crowd to the conference, The first panel up, “Solving regulatory hurdles through licensing – Licensing Taiwan,” helped educate attendees about the role this country can play in the wider gambling industry.
Moderated by Martin Williams, Panelists Dr. George Lin and David Lee of Lin & Partners explained that while offering online gambling to Taiwanese citizens is illegal, offering support services to global operations is permitted. As a result, the number of gambling support companies have exploded, doubling in the past year to 2000. With Cambodian and Philippines regulatory environments showing plenty of uncertainty, they expect that number to grow much more. Robin Le Prevost, CEO of LPC Limited, cautioned that while these services aren’t illegal, Taiwan should work fast to provide a legal framework and keep companies in check, or the situation is at threat of running wild.
Next on stage was Calvin Yang, Managing Partner of Join Law, who spoke on “Building and Clarifying guidelines for legal gaming services in Taiwan.” He expanded on the legal situation in Taiwan, noting that while gambling services are already operating, that is a situation that could change as some cases are making their way through the courts. For the moment though, judges are hesitant to be the first to rock the boat, and with Taiwanese elections coming up in January, 2020, the matter is on the back burner for now legislatively.
The group began by talking about Cambodia recent ban of online gambling. That ban, coming as a result of Chinese pressure, has destroyed one of the most stable online gambling regimes in the continent. But it might only be temporary, Shepherd teased, as he’s recently heard the government is advising large western operators that the market may open back up once Chinese and criminal organizations are driven out, largely to unregulated Myanmar.
As for the Philippines, Brenninkmeijer repeatedly expressed his frustration at a government that simply won’t embrace a gambling industry that is helping grow the economy. The panel feared that new proposed taxes and an ever changing regulatory environment could drive operators underground.
India was the next topic of discussion, with Martin Williams returning with panelists Ranjana Adhikari, Co-head Media & Entertainment and Gaming Law Practice Group, Nishith Desai Associates, Michael Charlton, Asia Pacific Development Director of GVC Group, and Jaydeep Chakravartty, VP of Commercials for Nektan Pic.
Adhikari began by explaining that India is a diverse country, and with that, many different states take different views towards gambling. All the same, gambling, and especially amongst internet users, is booming, with 900 million expected to be online in the next few years.
She emphasized that while there is still plenty of uncertainty in what will be regulated or made legal across India and when, she believes progress is being made and there is hope for the future.