Laos contemplates introducing online casinos

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Laos is poised to shift towards online gambling. In a move mimicking the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator, talks are on the agenda for the country to target foreign markets in the Southeast Asia region.

Casinos were long a taboo in Laos. The tables started turning when the local government established a Special Economic Zone within the Golden Triangle area. Yet, the GTSEZ has repeatedly been called out for perpetrating unlawful activities. With the economic viability of brick-and-mortar casinos also put into question, Laos is now considering making a move towards online gambling platforms.

Deliberations still ongoing in Laos

The Laos government is currently discussing the introduction of rules that would create a framework for companies to apply for licenses. The move would enable the government to monitor the local industry, faced with growing illegal gambling operations and an increasing need to protect consumers. A receding land-based casino activity also affected the country’s public finances. Turning to online casinos would, thus, levy much-needed gambling revenues.

Mirroring Curaçao’s model, the licensing process should be divided into two groups. Initial master licenses would be issued to a handful of businesses, which could in turn contract sub-licenses to a wider array of operators. Danny Too, consulting assistant to the Laotian government, declared the government aimed to publish guidelines in two months’ time.

Similar to POGOs, licensed operators would be able to establish online gambling operations directed toward foreign audiences. The gambling ban for Laos citizens would still be in effect, thus. Instead, the country might focus on promising markets in the Asia Pacific sphere.

Plans to take shares in Asia

In the Asian market, the Philippines are a successful example of online gambling businesses done right. And Laos appears prone to emulate POGOs’ gambling model. But the country also intends to become a direct competitor, with its eyes set on grabbing some of the market shares. The Laos Offshore Gaming Authority (LOGA) was settled to that effect.

Countries such as Thailand are said to be the top priority. Danny Too even disclosed that all three main frontrunners to be attributed master licenses were Thailand-based. Other countries might prove more arduous to tackle. In 2020, China warned it would retaliate against any country hosting sites that offered Chinese citizens to gamble. Chinese authorities have even cracked down on Macao gaming paradise. Too confirmed the issue was “very sensitive.” He noted that Laos would have a tough time resisting pressure from China “if push came to shove.”

Still, he added Laos convenient location could be a convincing argument for operators based in Southeast Asia. The government might also expedite the process for working visas. And with the promise of lower labour costs, the Laotian government can legitimately hope to entice operators, making substantial profits from an ever-growing industry.

A means of capitalizing on the rapid growth of online gambling

Market estimates forecast the Asia Pacific online gambling market might account for US$300 billion by 2026. An increasing number of internet users will only push the market’s growth. The value of the global online gambling market is even projected to soar past US$800 billion in 2026. And the iGaming trend spans all continents. Indeed, reports show that India, Nigeria, and Latin America are the fastest-growing markets worldwide.

From augmented reality to mobile portability, technological advances are one of the driving forces behind the industry’s roaring success. But online gaming platforms have also adopted a more consumer-centric approach, focusing on safety and responsiveness.

The best gambling platforms also offer hefty bonuses for both seasoned players and newcomers. Avid machine slot players, for instance, can make the most of free spins in casinos. Free spins provide gamblers with the opportunity to test any slot of their liking. No real money deposit is required, thus, to enhance one’s bankroll. Most offers last a few days to up to a week, so that gamblers can take their time to try out their favourite slots. And many more promotions await you on the best online casinos.

The traditional brick-and-mortar casino model faces renewed challenges. Forced shutdowns have cost governments millions in the past, and might again in the future. And while details are still being discussed, Laos is already one of many countries to rethink its stance regarding online gambling.

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