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iGaming Industry in Thailand

May 26, 2023 Thailand iGaming & Gambling

Thailand has outpaced Malaysia in the iGaming industry. With a population of 70 million, around 54 million internet users, and approximately 52 million smartphone owners, Thailand presents a favorable environment for individuals interested in iGaming.

The nation’s tight gambling rules, however, forbid wagering on anything save the national lottery and horse racing. The restriction was first put in place by the Gambling Act of 1935, which also forbade the private possession of more than 120 playing cards.

The gambling market is booming.

In spite of this, the black market gambling sector is thriving. In January of this year, the House of Representatives adopted a plan to create resorts across the nation with five-star hotels, casinos, amusement parks, sports arenas, and even zoos. Foreign players and locals over 21 who can show they have at least US $15,000 in their bank accounts for a minimum of six months will be permitted entry to these casinos, according to the idea. The decision does not legalize gambling because thorough analyses of the viability of regulated land-based gaming must first be carried out. The Government, however, has a compelling incentive to legalize and tax gambling because the Centre for Gambling Studies and Centre for Social and Business Development estimates that 70% of adults bet regularly, bringing in about US $5.5 billion annually.

Thailand has developed a market for gaming genres including online battle royale and match games by following global gaming trends. The rise in online gaming is due to increased smartphone use, internet usage, and the rollout of 5G coverage. Thai users can now view online gaming streams on well-known websites like Twitch, YouTube Live, and Facebook Gaming thanks to improvements in streaming quality.

Thailand’s DEPA Game Accelerator Program seeks to improve the environment for game publishers and developers. Thailand is Southeast Asia’s second-largest gaming market, trailing only Indonesia. Blacknut by Gameloft and Antstream Arcade, two cloud gaming services, were introduced in 2020. Other local games include Kingdoms Reborn, Home Sweet Home, Project Nimbus, Fallen Knight, and Timelie.

Diablo and other console and PC online games have been ported to mobile platforms, joining hits like Garena RoV, Garena Free Fire, Roblox, and PUBG Mobile. This is due to increased smartphone ownership and quicker internet. The popularity of the battle royale subgenre has been boosted by multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) games like League of Legends.

Online gaming is prohibited.

The government initiated a campaign against online casinos in 2020, working with other state authorities to take down up to 190 online sites, principally casinos, despite the fact that online gambling is illegal and extremely popular.

Buddhism, which regards gambling as one of the four vices that lead to ruin, is practiced by 90% of Thais. “Ten robberies leave you a house, ten fires leave you land, gambling once leaves you nothing,” says a proverb in Thai. Despite this caution, a recent survey found that more than 80% of participants support legal gaming and entertainment. Thais already view online gambling as a necessary form of recreation, with the majority naming it among their top five pastimes. Over US $1.24 billion is reportedly made annually by video gamers in Thailand, with up to US $700 million coming from gaming. The most popular games include RoV: Arena of Valor, and Siamese-language online casino games are becoming increasingly popular. Earth Atlantis, Timelie, and Home Sweet Home are just a few of the video games made by Thai firms.

In Southeast Asia, there is even betting on bull, cock, and fish fights. As part of a series, SiGMA News provides some insight into the industry in Thailand, where esports is flourishing and receiving significant investment. The result has been a rapid expansion of the gambling business, a substantial source of income for the area. According to a forecast released by Tencent, esports revenue will surpass US $72.5 million next year, showing a CAGR of over 20%. This would be astonishing if realized because it is almost twice the 11 percent global rate. Additionally, more people are expected to watch esports on streaming services like Twitch and YouTube, which will encourage more significant investment in the area’s gaming business.

Esports is ranked 16th worldwide.

In Thailand, esports is recognized as a legitimate professional sport. The Sports Authority of Thailand (SAT) and the Thailand E-Sports Federation (TESF), which regularly hold contests, seminars, and workshops, support athletes and organizations. ”Made in Thailand” (MiTH) is one of the oldest eSports organizations in the world. With teams in Dota2, CSGO, Point Blank, Heroes of Newerth, and Starcraft II, it was created in 2007.

Recognizing the potential of esports, the Thai government has worked with TESF on a number of projects that have trained staff members to comprehend esports better and help them organize more contests. Government support could make Thailand a top location for organizations like the Professional Gamers League (PGL) and ESL to hold their events. Esports Electronic Sports League (ESL) competitions for Dota 2 and ESL National Tournament events are sponsored by SAT and the Thailand Ministry of Tourism and Sports. Esports revenue in Thailand is anticipated to reach US $6.7 million in 2023 and increase by 11.9 percent CAGR from 2023 to 2027. By 2027, a market volume of US $10.6 million is predicted as a result. With a US $2 million market volume in 2023, sponsorship advertising will be the market’s largest category.

By 2027, 8.25 million active esports participants are anticipated in Thailand, and the average revenue per user (ARPU) is anticipated to rise to US $1.04. In the worldwide esports league rankings, Thailand is ranked 16th, with 1,898 Thai players earning US $22.2 million over 1,254 tournaments. Arena of Valor received the biggest payout, totaling US $ 5.3 million. The highest-paid Thai player is Anucha, who has earned slightly under US $1 million from competing in Dota 2 competitions altogether.

The average age of gamers in Thailand is between 18 and 25. Additionally, they have more money available to spend on esports. Three-quarters want to wager on numerous esports games and prefer to take part in interactive esports events, while two-thirds only wager on esports. Popular wagers include Call of Duty, Dota 2, Rocket League, Valorant, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Warcraft III, League of Legends, and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG).

The Thai government is looking for ways to earn revenue and offer regulated and safer ways to wager due to the ease of access to offshore sites.

Fantasy league football games and virtual sports like hockey, cricket, and golf draw bettors as well, so there is cause to encourage operators to work with the government to control channels for esports fans.

Bull, fish, and cock fights

Thailand had 3.5 million fewer football wagers per person than other nations in the area, but it had the highest level of customer spending, with wagers totaling more than $5 billion. The percentage of people who report engaging in internet gambling is minimal, ranging between 2 and 4 percent, according to estimates. Baccarat is the most played game online, with a 45 percent participation rate. Other card games are played online by 28% of players, and online slots are played by 20%. Only 16.7% of people who claimed they gambled on sports indicated they did so, possibly as a result of the prohibition and the necessity to get around it using a Tor browser or a VPN.

With multiple arenas hosting up to 1000 spectators each, cock and bullfighting are two of the most well-liked “sports” bets in Thailand. Strangely, people like seeing fish battle. The sport of “Bettas”—fish fighting—has its own gaming license, and spectators watch male fish—which are territorial—fight to the death.

After they were banned as a result of Covid-19, Thailand’s Ministry of the Interior gave local governing bodies instructions in February of this year to reverse the prohibition on animal events, including bull, cock, and fish fighting. The contests are designed to highlight regional history and give localities “an honest way to generate revenues.” Each locality’s district chief officer or assistant district officer has the power to give licenses for the holding of bull, cock, or fish fights in accordance with local customs or circumstances. Authorities are urged to exercise care and monitor the contests in order to avoid torturing the animals during the matches.

Once a week, animal combat with betting is permitted, with additional fights permitted on special occasions and for charity fundraising events. Competitions are not allowed on Buddhist holy days. A minimum age of 18 is necessary to participate in the competitions and place bets. Alcohol use is not permitted during the events. On days that are not federal holidays, horse racing wagering is legal for charitable events.

Governed and protected gambling is considered

Online gambling has grown in Thailand despite being against the law, and oddly enough, badminton is one of the most popular sports for bettors. Thai users are accepted via offshore websites, which handle deposits and withdrawals in local currency.

Fantasy league football games and virtual sports like hockey, cricket, and golf draw bettors as well, so there is cause to encourage operators to work with the government to control channels for esports fans.

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