Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Asia and Gambling

While everything from sports to cockfighting has been made gambling for most of us Asians, the deed still is deemed illegal even in the countries where most of these betting fanatics come from. The governments of China, Thailand, Indonesia, and Hongkong—countries where the proliferation of the best Asian casinos is at boom—still recognize their countries’ cultural and political stands when it comes to the issue.

Reasons on why gambling has been considered taboo for the Asian culture vary from different points of view. Anthropologically, it is recognized as a cause for a person to deviate from the social norm. It is believed to create an addiction—that when people build a liking towards betting and winning through bets, it most likely would breed corruption, fraud and greed. Historically, influences from the European Christian culture left the Asians the notion that gambling is a sin. Economically, a study from the US National Bureau of Economic Research shows that gambling mostly appeal to the poor. They take risks more, win some, and lose a lot—an unhelpful fact for the continent where most of the third world countries are situated.

However cultural and political these reasons might be, it cannot be denied that most of the gambling games popular to the world came from Asia. Take for example ‘mah-jong’, or Chinese Poker, or sic bo. The world will never enjoy playing these games if people from the east did not have the inclination to gamble.

Evidence to this is the existence of a very successful, and massive, gambling den that is Macau. Housing some of the best Asian casinos, this international gambling Mecca—known to tourists as the ‘Las Vegas of the East’—gained $6 billion in revenue in 2005, surpassing Las Vegas’s $5.3 billion. Online sources even say that Macau can gain $10 billion towards the end of this year, and $15 billion by 2012. Moreover, Macau brags of having the biggest casino in the world, the Venetian.

In Thailand, where gambling is prohibited, people found a way to pursue the deed. The Thai gambling population found refuge in its neighbouring countries—Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar. According to an online article, Asian casinos near the country’s border are mostly Thai owned with 99 percent of the players coming from the Thailand.

Asian casinos have also reached popularity in the World Wide Web. Online casino Asia has penetrated the world of gambling pushing its reach towards the west. Several Asia-based online casinos, like Dafa888—the number one online casino site in Asia, has players coming from Europe and the United States.

Asia and gambling are two entities that have strongly bonded through the years. Even though it is well-recognized that Asia denounces gambling, the noun; it can also be observed that Asians love gambling, the verb.

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