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A growing number of online operators are targeting Japan, attracted by the potential of converting some of the $38 billion in annual pachinko revenue to their sites, though cracking the market takes patience, meticulous attention to detail and full immersion in the local culture.
While kidnappings and illegal immigration make for unwelcome headlines for the Philippines’ online gaming industry, what’s really driving recent departures from the country is the rising cost of doing business, especially during an economic downturn.
“As soon as we catch up on our cash flow, we will also catch up on payroll,” a spokesperson for the casino resort in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands told reporters.
Genting Group, one of the world’s largest casino companies, has been investing in expansion of its online business in Europe at a time when more land-based operators are eyeing adding a digital strategy to cushion the impact from Covid-19.
The shutdown of gambling venues due to Covid-19 may drive people at-risk of addiction to increased online gambling and harm. For others it might create a relief from the constant access to problematic pokies.
South Korea’s three major operators are likely to come through the economic downturn caused by the Covid-19 pandemic without too much difficulty, but the smaller and weaker operators on the island of Jeju may face a much tougher time, analysts say.