According to reports on the Asia News Network, the increased use of smart phones is contributing to an impressive growth in online gambling in the region, estimated by consultants like GBGC at 15 percent per annum….and that does not include numbers from unlicensed operators.
The new communication technologies have widened access to online casinos by a growing number of younger punters comfortable with mobile devices and the internet, and the numbers of PC gamblers are also rising.
GBGC estimates that licensed operators generated revenues of US$357.2 million from punters in 2011. The year before, the figure was US$312.49 million, and in 2009, it was US$271.58 million. Estimates are that illegal operators made up to US$110 million.
The Acting Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS) in Singapore, Chan Chun Sing, labeled online gambling as ‘an emerging concern’ in an address in Singapore last week, saying that there were worries about the difficulties in tackling online gambling and its possible impact on compulsive gamblers.
A recent National Council on Problem Gambling survey, conducted on a sample of 3 315 Singapore residents aged over 18 years, found that online gamblers exhibited the least self-control.
Up to a third of respondents said they gambled longer than they planned, bet more than they had intended and turned to gambling more often than they should.
Only 13 percent of respondents felt the same way playing jackpot at local clubs, and only 21 percent felt that way when they bet on horses.
A spokesman for the Community Development, Youth and Sports Ministry said Friday the fact that online gambling does not take place at a physical site makes it more difficult to implement social safeguards effectively.
ANN reports that sites popular with gamblers include Betfair and Ladbrokes, where punters log in using credit cards to place bets on sports, casino games and poker.
However, industry insiders say that many unlicensed sites let punters join in without having to fork out cash or to authorise a credit card deduction upfront. Local bookies give punters – accepted only on recommendation through trusted contacts – free credit, a code and a website where they can place their bets. Wins and losses are settled face-to-face with the bookie or through bank transfers some days later.