Asian casinos welcome expat gamblers with open arms

Published:  5 Feb at 4 PM
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In spite of the rising trend towards increased anti-foreigner legislation across Asia, one business sector on the continent is making it easier than ever for expat gamblers.

Asia’s many casinos welcome expats with open arms, although in many Asian countries gambling by nationals is illegal. A boom is expected as more Westerners flock to Asia to escape the effects of five years of financial uncertainty and austerity in their home countries.

Recent curbs on the freedom of expats have been mostly concentrated on real estate matters, with Singapore and Hong Kong recently introducing a stamp duty of 15 per cent on expat property purchases and China announcing that workers from overseas must pay into local social security funds. Even so, casinos across Asia are encouraging tourists and expats to try their luck as the tables.

In Vietnam, Cambodia and Nepal gambling is illegal for nationals but permitted for foreigners, and Thailand has anti-gambling laws which are regularly broken by the vast majority. Singapore operates free entry to casinos for expats, but charges its own people.

Japanese tourists, forbidden to have a flutter in their home country, flock to South Korea to gamble in its 17 licensed casinos, with all except one out of bounds to South Koreans. Vietnam’s thriving black market in betting on everything from cock-fighting to the English Premier League contravenes its anti-gambling laws every day of the year.

According to casino experts in the Asian sector, Asia has a large number of addicted gamblers, with overall bans justified. However, most Asian countries are known for their illegal gambling opportunities, open to all including foreigners.
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