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Regulation of online gambling in Asia still has a long way to go, says SiGMA founder

Eman Pulis, founder of global iGaming event SiGMA, said that there is still much work for making governments in Asia realize that the proper regulation of the online gambling industry is the ‘only’ way. 

Many Asian nations still ban gambling, but this has not stopped crime networks and other operators from hosting illegal online casinos that have led to crypto-related crimes and other cybercrimes in the region.

In a report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, it was suggested that online casino operators have found asylum in Cambodia, Philippines, Lao PDR, and Myanmar—countries that are “loosely regulated” and have “highly vulnerable jurisdictions.” 

For this reason, Pulis told PhilSTAR Tech that in their promotion of regulated gambling, they wanted to bring it down to the Philippines, the capital of iGaming in Asia.

“We are here to support the government, the leader of regulation in Asia, and that’s the reason why we chose the city of Manila,” he said. 

Last May, the networking conference for iGaming, betting, and esports industries received a seal of approval from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor).

The approval is the regulatory body’s endorsement of SiGMA Asia 2024’s show happening from June 3 to 5 at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City.

Furthermore, Pulis acknowledged the important role of regulatory bodies when it comes to the gambling industry.

Aside from Pagcor chief Alejandro Tengco’s presence during the opening ceremony, the regulatory body also took part in a panel discussion about gaming regulations.

“Even governments which strictly prohibit online gambling, you still find operators who operate in those countries,” he said.

As “vociferous fans” of regulated gambling, Pulis said that, in every event they hold, they invite the regulators to speak and exhibit at their conference.

“We need to keep coming back every year, keep raising awareness and make everyone aware that regulated gambling is the only way to go.”

Moreover, SiGMA wanted the frontliners of the global tech community to “brush shoulders” with the gambling industry in the country through the event.

Pulis revealed that they have brought in people from artificial intelligence, blockchain, IOT, quantum computing, DeFi, from GameFi for the conference.

“We want all these people to come closer with the gaming people and realize that there’s a lot of business opportunities to do between the two.”

SiGMA group is an organization that hosts networking conferences on iGaming, tech, digital health, and marketing. It was founded in 2014 by Pulis.

It has offices based in the Philippines, Cyprus, Brazil, and Serbia.