Although many religious and moralists might object to gambling, there is no denying that legalizing and monitoring it can benefit all nations. Although illegal shbet can pose problems for a society, it is possible to make it safer by ensuring that proper controls are in place.
The United States of America and other western countries are still the only places where legal gambling can be made a profit. However, this does not mean Asian countries are missing this huge opportunity. Macau, which has a thriving gambling industry, was able to make about US$2.5 million in the first year of 2011. Macau, also known as the Orient’s ‘Monte Carlo’, is a unique country that has allowed gambling since 1850s. Gambling is the main source of Macau’s income.
Other countries have slowly, but surely, followed the example of Malaysia, which has seen its lucrative benefits. Gambling is legal in Malaysia as long as it’s done under a government license or permit. Gambling at home or in public places is considered illegal. The legality of gambling is also limited to certain ages, religions, and ages. To be allowed to enter legal gambling establishments, one must not be Muslim and 18 years old. Genting Highlands’ casino resorts continue to draw large numbers of tourists, many of which are from neighbouring countries.
Singapore is one of these neighbouring countries. This country used to be anti-gambling. Many Singaporeans who gambled would go to Malaysia, but few returned with a large fortune. In 2005, Singapore lifted its ban on gambling and opened the first Singapore casino to the public. These casinos have made a huge impact on the country’s economy. It was predicted that Singapore would become Last Vegas’ second-largest gambling hub.
There is another Asian country, however, that may be able to challenge Singapore’s enviable position. Due to the gambling-friendly laws in the Philippines, which allow online and offline casinos, the Philippines was able to generate US$69.58 millions in gambling revenue in 2011. Online gambling is legalized without any precedent or law. This is not surprising, as gambling indirectly brings in foreign investors. The Philippines is lacking this kind of law. But, only foreigners can use legal online gambling sites while Filipinos are allowed to gamble at any government-owned sites.
As more Asian countries open up to legal gambling, it is possible that Asia will soon be the largest market for gambling tourism. Already, there is a growing market in Asia and people are coming to Asia for an integrated experience, including sightseeing, gambling, and travel.