Paul Leyland, Partner at strategic consultancy firm Regulus Partners, has expressed his views on China’s fight against online gambling.
Leyland said China could soon start applying the kind of pressure recently piled on Cambodia and the Philippines to European countries and their online gambling sectors. He pointed to China as a worrying wildcard for iGaming operators over the next 12 months.
“One of the things we think we’re going to see from a geopolitical standpoint – and we’re already seeing the noises coming through – is China really not liking online gambling,” he said.
“China hasn’t liked gambling, even its own regulated gambling, for some time and we’ve seen that with the sheer number of unregulated, land-based gambling operations China has disrupted across Asia, which has seen thousands of people arrested and hundreds of millions of dollars seized.
“The online industry hasn’t tended to notice what China has been doing because it doesn’t disrupt the online environments we’re focused on.
“But we’re seeing a huge channel shift in Asian markets away from land-based points of payment to direct online. The Chinese government has noticed that, doesn’t like it and is already putting a huge amount of pressure on the Philippines.
“This is a level of pressure that China can exert pretty much globally and if you asked any politician anywhere in the world what do you like more, online gambling or China, it’s a really easy choice for them to make.
“So we think that geopolitical tension around China is going to keep bubbling up and will have some really interesting implications for the industry that we probably haven’t properly thought through yet.”