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Live Casino and the Asian Markets

| By iGB Editorial Team
European operators should not underestimate the power of local knowledge when it comes to unlocking the potential of live casino markets across Asia, and adopting the right approach could also drive incremental opportunities in Europe, as Asia Gaming’s Sales Director, Kelvin Chiu, explains.

They used to say that if America sneezes the rest of the world catches a cold. While a Stars and Stripes handkerchief at the ready might still cause panic across the globe, there is little doubt that Asia is now the region that the rest of the world wants to keep fit and healthy. Just as the Asian economies continue to catch up with the developed world of Europe and North America at a pace, it is increasingly clear that the continent is also rising up to become the largest online gambling market.

Asia’s mobile revolution

International Data Corporation estimates that online gaming revenue in the Asia/Pacific region (excluding Japan) will reach US$30.39 billion in 2018 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18.53%, as the number of gamers across the APEJ region steadily grows. 2016 will be the first year in which a real growth in mobile is recorded, and from now on it is certain to expand very quickly. The number of gamers that operators can reach in Asia is immense, and future projections are staggering. The estimated number of Asian online gaming users will rise to US$335.88 million in 2018, from US$240.74 million as recently as 2013.

Thanks to the latest technology and the cost of intelligent mobile devices and internet subscriptions dropping significantly in the past few years, more and more Asians can go online at a very low cost, any time, anywhere. Asian online casino players are shifting from using traditional PCs to mobile devices, and the compatibility of different platforms will be key. Without doubt, it is vital to stay close to the rapid development of technology and provide customers with the interactive experience that they expect, because all online gamers are tech savvy.

Making live casino thrive

Live casinos in the Asian market still have several challenges which operators have to overcome as each country within the region has different dynamics pertaining to casino gaming preferences. What works successfully in one country may seem like a foreign language in another market. As a result, how to design and deploy games based on player habits and expectations are the key contributors to success in Asia. Localisation and innovation should be considered a differentiator for the operators and their live casino software providers in driving the creation and execution of new products, services and business processes.

Localisation of gaming content and the cultural, thematic and player experience, as offered by Asia Gaming, are just as important to attract and retain players of Chinese origin across Europe.

All countries in Asia are different, so operators should tailor the experience for each market. A player is always more comfortable when using gaming products that they recognise.

Asian players at home

Clearly, huge populations, increasing wealth and proliferation of new technology offer a huge jackpot win for those Western operators that can make the most of the new opportunities available in Asia. However, companies should also take note that there is a prize a little closer to home. Most European-facing online gaming operators fail to target the overseas Chinese population residing in Europe. Instead, these brands focus on targeting the country’s indigenous population groups, which could be a lost opportunity. As the number of Asians living in Europe rises each year, their needs should not be ignored. So, what should European operators do if they want to access this under-served group and to maximise the opportunity? In Asia, reputation is one of the key factors in retaining a player’s loyalty. Operators have to earn the player’s trust, and it is easier to build trust with local experience and a partner that has already built its reputation.

Local knowledge is a winning hand

Asia Gaming is delighted that European operators are finally realising that Asia is an important region. However, we fear that these operators will simply attempt to apply European solutions to Asian problems, like the proverbial square peg in a round hole. Cultural navigation is essential in successfully attracting Asian players; in knowing the best partners in the region, in speaking to the players themselves in a language they understand and offering the games they want. Just as we would tell you not to offer white flowers to a Chinese girlfriend – they symbolise funerals – so regional experts such as ourselves can help operators to reach the Asian gamer.

Our strong advice for anyone in Europe targeting Asian players is to partner up with a company from the region itself. The casino that fully adapts to Asian culture will be the real long-term winner in the online casino game.

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