While gambling is a common activity for humans, the demand for various types of games and related gaming services is not identical across different regions. Given the differences in social, political, and economic factors, such as culture, education, public administrative structure, regulatory system, income, and so on among different countries in the world, the organization and market performance of casino gaming and gambling in Asia are unique.
For example, while the markets in America are largely 56 casinos dominated by gaming machines, it is well-known that Asia is a table-game market (see, e.g., Siu and Eadington 2009). In addition, while most casino firms in the world are competing for patrons from the mass gaming market whereby lower operating risk and higher profit margins are expected, Asian casinos are more inclined to pursue VIP (or premium) players with a considerable volume of turnover but higher liquidity risk and lower profit margins (see, e.g., Siu 2009a).
In Asia, the composition of the casino gaming markets is largely driven by the particular desires of players for various games. Nevertheless, given the fixed odds of casino games, the role of non-price factors in exploring the demand-side issues presents an interesting topic for study.
Besides that, given the unique features of this industry in that its practice may easily be correlated with socially and ethically controversial underground economic activities (e.g., crime, drugs, commercial sex, money laundering, etc.), a free market approach may be inappropriate. Indeed, institutions and institutional changes have exerted significant influences in the recent progress and organization of this industry, hence leading to differences in performance across various Asian casino jurisdictions.
In the early decades of the twenty-first century, it is commonly anticipated that increasing income and wealth effects will accelerate the growth and development of casino gaming in Asia. For example, as cited in “Gambling on Asia’s middle classes” (GBGC 2011), the World Bank estimated that“the global middle class will increase from $430 million in 2000 to 1.2 billion in 2030. China and India will account for two-third of this expansion.”
As the two most-populated countries in Asia (also in the world), both China and India would undoubtedly expand the potential demand for casino gaming should they experience a rapid increase in the numbers of people reaching the middle classes. Accordingly, direct and indirect economic benefits are appealing to the host economies and related world investors. Nevertheless, taking into account the underdeveloped social and public administrative systems of most Asian countries, social costs and impacts associated with the potential expansion of casino gaming are also imperative issues for the related parties.