Asia’s online brands struggle to make European impact

When 188Bet announced its withdrawal from the UK and Irish markets in March, it was the latest in a long line of Asia-facing operators to back away from Europe’s highly-regulated igaming jurisdictions. 188Bet has previously invested heavily in the UK market. It was an authorized betting partner of UK horse racing, and as recently as 2016 announced a major new sponsorship deal of 50 races across the country. But in a withdrawal statement it said the decision to leave the UK was a commercial one based on a “very competitive market”. Of Asia’s larger online brands, 188Bet went further than many in the UK. When the market introduced a new regulatory regime based upon a Point of Consumption tax in 2014, many Asia-facing operators, including SBOBet and 12Bet, decided to leave altogether. At the time, SBOBet said the withdrawal was the result of the new taxation framework, which meant its business model was...

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