Interview Transcript

Disclaimer: This interview is for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as a basis for investment decisions. In Practise is an independent publisher and all opinions expressed by guests are solely their own opinions and do not reflect the opinion of In Practise.

Could you describe the scale and scope of your current business to give us a better understanding of your environment?

The brand I work for was established less than 10 years ago, initially targeting the Malaysian, Thai, and Vietnamese markets. However, we encountered some marketing issues due to the lack of understanding of the Southeast Asian market by the European iGaming experts we hired. Southeast Asia, with its diverse cultures, languages, and habits, is significantly different from Europe.

I joined the company a few years ago, being one of the few iGaming experts from Asia who understood the Asian market. I gradually worked my way up, significantly contributing to marketing in different markets. Currently, we target all Southeast Asian markets except Singapore, which we avoid due to its sensitivity.

We have approximately 350 staff scattered across Southeast Asia, with half of them involved in operations, including HR, payments, audit, risk, and fraud teams. Despite not having a huge marketing budget, we've managed to establish a strong presence in the markets we've entered. I hope this gives you an idea of the company's size.

You mentioned that you're currently in all of South and Southeast Asia. Could you specify which countries you're in?

Our main focus at the moment is the Indian market, including India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. We also operate in Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, and Taiwan, although we're gradually withdrawing from Taiwan. We avoid the Philippines market as well, as some of our operations team is based there. We have yet to venture into Japan, or Korea, but Korea is on our roadmap for this year. We also have a small presence in mainland China. Hence, our primary focus is India and its neighboring countries.

Could you give us an idea of your revenues or GGR?

Our revenue fluctuates, particularly because India is our main market. For instance, during cricket tournaments like the upcoming IPL, revenue deposits usually reach about €1.2 million. However, this isn't pure profit. Our GGR typically ranges between €600,000 and €700,000 on a good month, and the lowest I've seen was around €200,000 due to bad luck.

So, on average, it's around €500,000?

Yes, on average, we generate about €500,000.

Could you break down the products you offer and what proportion of that is live casino?

In India, we primarily use Evolution, which is extremely popular. Their live casino products and auto roulettes are very well received. Whenever we focus on any product outside of sports, it's always the live casinos. We don't really push slots at all in the Indian market. It's either sports, like the upcoming IPL, or live casinos, especially from Evolution, as they generate the most revenue and have the highest popularity in India. When I mention India, I'm also including the neighboring markets like Pakistan and Bangladesh. Another country where we heavily push live casino is Vietnam. In Vietnam, live casino accounts for 40% of our focus, with sports and slots each taking up 30%. Thailand would be 30%, 30%, 30%.

Do you offer both crypto and fiat or only one of the two?

We only deal in fiat. We did try using crypto in the beginning, but we encountered many issues with scammers. Despite our due diligence, risk and fraud increased significantly when we used crypto. As we mainly focus on the Southeast Asian market, which primarily uses cash, on fiat, we decided to abandon crypto. We had it for about two years and concluded it wasn't worth the trouble. Currently, we only use fiat and no crypto whatsoever.

Do you address all these markets with a specific license somewhere, or are you licensed anywhere? How does that work?

Currently, we are licensed with Curaçao. We are considering switching to the Isle of Man, which is currently under discussion. I believe we renewed our Curaçao license in either October or November. If we decide to switch to the Isle of Man, it will likely happen later this year or early next year. However, in Southeast Asia, having a license doesn't really matter as it's a very gray market. Having a license is an added bonus, as players can trust that they won't be scammed. But 70% of our players don't really care if we have a license or not. Most operators in Southeast Asia don't have a license. They can buy white labels, with setup fees ranging from zero to 5,000 USD, and start operating without a license.

How do they get access to content if they don't have any license? Presumably, there's someone in the chain that needs to check that, right?

Yes, you're correct. Not all game providers require a license. Some do, some don't really care, and some just turn a blind eye. Aggregators don't really care either. They just need your company details and registration. The white labels also don't really care. They will casually mention that you should get a license, you nod your head in agreement, and the question is never brought up again.

Theoretically, Evolution, who might require a license, could sell to an aggregator, who could then sell it to an operator that doesn't have any license.

Indeed, you're correct. A license is beneficial but not a necessity to operate in South Asia, unlike Europe.

To get a general overview of the Asian market, could you estimate the largest markets that generate the most GGR? If you could focus on live casino, that would be ideal. However, we can start wherever you deem appropriate. Perhaps the top three or five markets?

With live casino in mind, India is the largest market, and it's also our biggest market. Thailand would be second, Vietnam third, and Malaysia fifth.

What if we were to include countries like Korea and China in that equation?

We've always encountered numerous problems in China, so we don't focus much effort there. Currently, we have no marketing budget allocated for China. We rely solely on affiliates for the Chinese market. If they can bring in players, we get a cut, as does the affiliate. But apart from that, I've allocated no budget for China. For Korea, we have a monthly budget of around 20,000 because when entering a new market, you need to make a strong impact. One of the challenges we anticipate in Korea is that they prefer crypto over cash. This is a significant hurdle for us, which I need to discuss with my CEO and team. However, live casino is quite popular in Korea. From my research and conversations, I've found that the live casino market is as strong as, if not stronger than, the sports market. Of course, I take what my contacts and network say with a grain of salt. I need to enter the market, test it, and conduct A/B testing.

I recently spoke to someone involved in aggregation who mentioned that live casino is far more popular in Korea than in China, particularly Evolution games. He even estimated that around 40% or 45% of Evolution's revenues in Asia could come from Korea alone.

I can believe that and sounds right with what I have heard from contacts. You also have to consider the currency exchange rates. For instance, the Indian currency is significantly weaker compared to the USD than the Korean currency. So, a bet of 100 Korean dollars converted to USD would be higher than 100 Indian rupees converted to USD. But yes, I believe Korea would be very good for live casino. What you've just said aligns with what I've heard from my network. Live casino is incredibly popular there, so it's something we need to consider.

Stepping back from the markets you address, at a general level in Asia, what are the largest GGR markets? You don't do much in China, but it's a sizable market. How would the ranking look if we consider the general picture?

China would undoubtedly be first. I'm not familiar with the Korean market, so I can't include it in the ranking. After China, I would say India is next, followed by Thailand.

That's interesting. I wasn't aware that Thailand was so large.

Indeed, Thailand is vast. However, it doesn't have any land-based casinos. People here are interested in betting on sports and playing slots and live casinos, but they can only do so online. Of course, they could cross the border into Cambodia or Myanmar, where there are some land-based casinos. Alternatively, there are underground, illegal casinos scattered around Thailand. However, the convenience of playing and betting on one's phone is much more appealing.

I'm not sure if you're familiar with Thai culture, but there's a deeply ingrained notion of rags-to-riches here. People often buy government-issued lotteries, inspired by stories they see on social media of people winning billions of Baht. There are numerous get-rich-quick schemes in Thailand, and many people fall for them, hoping to experience their own rags-to-riches transformation.

That's fascinating. I wasn't aware of that.

Yes, Thailand is vast and extremely saturated.

Perhaps you could provide some estimates of the size, although I understand that might be challenging. My next question pertains to the prevalence of crypto casinos in Asia, specifically in Southeast Asia and South Asia.

Crypto casinos are emerging, but government control is also increasing. For instance, in Thailand, crypto is unlikely to succeed due to strict regulations on buying crypto. If I'm not mistaken, Thais are required to register if they wish to trade or buy cryptocurrency. In Indonesia, crypto is on the rise, but in Malaysia, it's unlikely to be successful. There might be some volume, but it certainly won't surpass fiat. India is still predominantly fiat. In Vietnam, however, crypto is gaining traction.

Considering the regions where you're currently operating, who are the largest operators? In other words, who are your biggest competitors?

Our biggest competitors vary by country. Overall, they are Dafabet and Fun88. For instance, in Vietnam, Fun88 has a monopoly. In India, the market is more evenly split. I haven't received last year's report yet, but it seems that Fun88 has a significant presence there as well. Vietnam is dominated by Fun88, while Thailand's market is split. In Malaysia and Indonesia, BK8 is the dominant player. The markets in Cambodia and Myanmar are also split, with many local brands and operators.

That's very helpful information about the overall environment. Could you now describe the typical profile of a live casino games player in your region?

Generally, when there are sports games, such as football or cricket, especially in India, live casino participation drops as everyone bets on sports. However, when there are no sports to bet on, they turn to live casino and slots. Live casinos in India are usually dominated by one of the Evolution live casino games, Teen Patti, as well as roulettes, which fall under the casino category. They're essentially AI RNG games. When there are sports to bet on, most players focus on that. But in the absence of sports, they heavily play live casinos and slots. If players don't bet on sports, slots take their place. So, when sports are available, about 90% to 100% of their betting money goes to sports. When there are no sports, it's split 50-50 between slots and live casino. Essentially, live casinos are a downtime game.

Are live casino games a product for the average Indian, or do they appeal more to the affluent?

Live casino games are played by everyone, as the minimum bets are quite low. They don't specifically target VIPs, although some brands do. The typical player of live casino games is not necessarily someone with a higher income or more education. It's a game for any bettor.

It's really a mass market product.

Yes, that's correct.

How does the typical profile change between countries? Is it relatively similar?

It's relatively similar, except for Thailand. Even when there's sports betting, like football, they will still split their bets evenly. India, Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia are quite similar. When there's sports, 90% of their bets go to sports. When there's no sports, they will split it according to each country.

Now that we understand who the customer is, how they behave, could you describe how you acquire these customers?

We don't target a specific type of player. We do mass marketing, targeting anyone above the legal age. Each country has different preferences. For example, in India, social media and messaging groups work much better. Most of our focus to target players goes into those marketing streams. In Malaysia, online marketing is purely for brand awareness. You need people on the ground to acquire players. Vietnam is a mix of online and on-the-ground marketing. Thailand relies heavily on online marketing, targeting people who know how to use social media and mobile phones.

We don't set an age group. However, we have noticed that people aged 30 to 40 tend to be more loyal and bet more. After 40, their betting amounts tend to decrease, they tend to be less loyal. They will switch brands and hunt for bonuses. The 30 to 40 age group, being more loyal, would expect more in return, like rebates, special promotions, or bonuses.

You mentioned that in Malaysia, you need to have boots on the ground. I imagine this might be the case in other markets too. How does that work? If I'm a customer walking on the street, how would I encounter your advertising campaign or your agents in the field?

The ground workers employ various tactics. Some print out flyers, half the size of an A4 paper, which I believe is called A5. They distribute these flyers at food courts and housing estates, either leaving them on tables or in mailboxes. Some print business cards, not with their personal details but promoting the brand, including a QR code. They distribute these at parking lots, placing them on windscreens. This is their method of promotion, despite gambling being a taboo subject in Malaysia, even though there is a legal, land-based casino there.

The QR code typically directs the user to our brand's registration website or a WhatsApp group. In the WhatsApp group, the agent who initiated this will have a team ready to provide information. A player can contact the agent via WhatsApp, asking about bonuses. It's the agent's responsibility to inform them about offers like the first time deposit (FTD) bonus, which could be 200% up to 5,000 ringgit, for example.

The flyers usually display the payment methods, including logos of local banks. In Malaysia, there's a card that can be used on public transport and at 7-Eleven stores, which can also be used to place a deposit. We also recruit people who work in KTVs and discos, such as waiters and waitresses. In Malaysia, we call them agents, but internationally, they're known as affiliates. They encourage customers to register and place a deposit. If the player loses, they get a cut of the profit. This includes waiters, bartenders, and GROs.

This system works well in Malaysia, as it's similar to multi-level marketing (MLM). For instance, we might recruit a head waiter, or "captain", as a master affiliate. He then recruits his own waiters, telling them they can earn a percentage of the losses if they bring in players. For example, if a player loses 100 USD, we might set the profit sharing at 30%. That means the waiter who recruited the player gets 30 USD. From this, the master affiliate above him gets 10 USD. So, for every 100 USD profit we make, we pay out 40 USD.

Imagine a large KTV or disco where a captain has 20 waiters, each bringing in a profit of 100 USD. The captain doesn't have to do anything and still earns money. This is how the MLM system works in Malaysia.

Indeed, that's essentially what it is. In Malaysia, the player profile is very specific. They require a person who introduced them to the brand or encouraged them to participate. They need a face. Player acquisition in Malaysia rarely works through social media or media buys. If an operator claims to be successful through online marketing alone, I can guarantee they're not being truthful. I'm from Malaysia, so I understand the market thoroughly.

As this is all done in person, with real people on the ground, and the associated face and perhaps even a name, how does the risk change compared to other forms of marketing in other countries?

The risk has changed because we used to have agents who held our cash. However, we've transitioned from that due to the risk of agents running off with the deposits, leaving us with the bill. We've moved towards a system where players can deposit money directly to us through Malaysian banks. As the operator, we directly receive the cash. After each calendar month, we calculate the commission or earnings of the affiliate or agent in the following 10 days or a week, and then transfer the money directly to them. This significantly reduces our risk.

However, we still need our own relationship management personnel, who are also on the ground. They meet with these people, inquire about their performance, and recruit new captains in KTVs or agents. They receive a fixed salary, with bonuses based on their performance. This encourages them to meet more people, introduce our brand, and offer them an opportunity to earn some extra money. This is how it works in Asia.

To answer your question, the risk has been significantly reduced for us as an operator, for agents or affiliates who promote the brand. It's always been a good, simple scenario. For instance, we've recruited this KTV, the waiters introduce the brand to the police officers who come to the KTV for entertainment. The officers might even gamble because they don't really care. They also can earn a bit of money. And because everything is done online, they feel the chances of them getting caught is much less rather than them going to an illegal underground casino. In Malaysia, the Muslim population is not allowed into land-based casinos in Genting Highlands. So, they'll be betting online.

In the countries where you operate, including Malaysia and India, how often do you see operators get shut down?

In Malaysia, it's not a common occurrence. The government there doesn't usually get involved. News about Malaysian cybercrime units busting online gambling rings usually surfaces because those operators didn't pay sufficient bribes. They're always targeting the Chinese market, including China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. The biggest mistake they can make is to base their operations in Malaysia. It's baffling why some operators still insist on having an office there.

You're referring to operators who target China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, but have their base in Malaysia, and then get shut down by the Malaysian authorities?


But why would they care about an online gambling ring that's targeting the Chinese market?

It's likely that the Chinese government has prodded them. It's a simple quid pro quo. The Chinese government might say, if you want us to continue sending tourists, you need to shut down this ring.

Is that a risk that could happen throughout Asia?

As I mentioned earlier, Indonesia is slowly cutting back. In Indonesia, when you want to enter the market and become big, not necessarily extremely huge like us with deposits of one million, but say you're having deposits of maybe 100,000 to 200,000 USD a month, you'll be contacted by the Indonesian cybercrime unit. They'll demand a certain amount of money, or they'll start freezing your bank accounts in Indonesia. Essentially, the gatekeeper for Indonesia is the cybercrime unit itself. This is widely known within the iGaming community. That's why there are many middlemen who can facilitate your entry into the Indonesian market. They usually charge about 30,000 to 50,000 USD a month. By paying that amount, they can guarantee certain things. Your domain name in Indonesia will never be blocked. Your bank accounts that players use to deposit into will never be frozen. If the cybercrime unit needs to show they're doing something and decides to freeze your accounts, they'll inform the middleman, who will then inform you. All you have to do is withdraw most of your money, leave a small amount, and transfer it to another bank.

How does this work for Thailand or India?

In Thailand, corruption is not as rampant. The government typically accepts bribes from land-based, illegal dens, but not so much from online gambling. I've heard of some instances, but it's not widespread. India, however, is very strict. If an operator is caught, it's challenging to escape the consequences. The Indian government will relentlessly pursue these operators. A popular brand, Parimatch, was extremely bold. They thought they could make a big splash in India, so they put up billboards and ads on buses. This was a bit excessive, and the Indian government targeted them directly. I'm not sure of the details, but it wasn't a pleasant situation. As a result, Parimatch had to withdraw from India due to the excessive advertising.

It was too blatant.

Yes, it was too blatant. If you're a small operator in India, you are also targeted by the Indian government. However, since we have no base of operations in India, their options are limited. They usually block our domain names, which is why we have multiple mirror websites. They also attempt to freeze our bank accounts, and they're improving in this area, reportedly using AI. However, for every problem, there's a solution. There are middlemen who can provide you with bank accounts for rent in India, Malaysia, Thailand, and other markets. These agents charge a set amount, perhaps 200 or 300 USD per bank account. If they don't receive prior notice that the bank accounts we're using from them are going to be frozen, they will cover up to a limit of, say, 100,000 INR. Anything above that is our loss. But they will refund us the 100,000 and provide new accounts for us to use. That's why in India, we frequently have to rotate our bank accounts, both the ones that players deposit into and the ones we use to pay out winnings. When we have a certain amount above the covered amount, we usually settle with the agent who cashes it out for us, taking a cut or charging a fee for the settlement.

Do you think there's a significant risk that India and China, who are either more strict or completely against online gambling, could start pressuring other Asian countries to shut down all these operators? This could potentially devastate the entire market.

China is already exerting pressure on the Philippines. If you've been following the news, you'll notice that high-ranking government officials in the Philippines are proposing to close the POGOs. However, it's not because they want to do it or because they've seen the negative effects it has on their country. It's due to pressure from the Chinese government. Although no one wants to admit it, it's the Chinese government that's applying the pressure. This is because 60% to 70% of all operators based in the Philippines target the Chinese market. The Chinese government can't stop the cash flow, so the best way for them to tackle this issue is to target the base of operations, which is in the Philippines. They are pressuring the Philippine government to take action.

Could you explain how the money flow works? As you mentioned, they can't stop the cash flow, but how does the money get out of China to these Philippine operators? Perhaps you could also explain how it works in the countries you operate in.

In China, if I'm not mistaken, they cash out through banks. However, the banks rotate so frequently that it's not detected by the Chinese government. The cash out is usually done overseas, typically online, through WeChat money or the Ant payment. As we don't have a large market in China, we tend to keep our money there. This is because we need cash for payouts if a player wins, and we also need to pay the affiliates. The money in China usually just circulates there. One of our agents, specifically the bank account agent, helps us handle all of this. He moves our money from one bank account to another, keeping the money within China itself. Last year, for 2023, we only did two settlements for the Chinese market, and he paid us in USDT.

Yes. I'm not sure what happens between the conversion from Chinese RMB to USDT. We don't really want to know because China isn't a big market for us. However, I'm sure companies like Bet Victor and Bet365 have their own ways of cashing out. I'm sorry I can't provide more information on this.

That's fine. Your explanation has been helpful. Could you explain how this process works in India? Do you have agents who provide bank accounts and change them as they get frozen or shut down?

Yes, that's correct.

Could you explain the process for an Indian customer who wants to deposit? What are the steps that the money takes before it reaches you?

When a player registers and wants to make a deposit on the website, there will always be either bank account details or a QR code that they can scan using their e-wallet. This information rotates every two to three days. Once the deposit is placed, we retain the money temporarily. If the player wins, we always keep a certain amount for payouts. Let's say it reaches 300,000 INR, for instance. The agent will typically cover up to 100,000. We will risk and leave 200,000 in there. The remaining 100,000 will be moved to a secure bank account. The agent provides us with details from his list, which has never been used before, so it will not be on the government's radar. That bank account will be very clean. We will transfer the money into there, and it will stay there for settlements.
From that bank account, he will convert to cryptocurrency, to USDT for us, and he'll inform us of the exchange rates and everything. Although I've never spoken to the agent directly, our head of payments has. I firmly believe that he easily has over 100 bank accounts under him. That's a rough estimate. It could be more because we rotate about 10 new bank accounts every month. I'm confident that we are not his only client. He cannot reveal his other operators, but if there are 10 operators under him, and each of us rotates ten bank accounts a month, that's 100 accounts.

That's a considerable scale. So, you receive USDT. I presume your staff doesn't accept USDT.

No. If our staff works in India, we will tell the agent that we need a certain amount of money for our salary. Let's say we need five million INR for the upcoming salary. He will then move the money, allocate the required amount to a clean, safe bank account. From there, he will pay all of the staff directly from the bank account. Typically, these bank accounts are companies. So companies that receive a large amount of money and disperse small amounts to multiple people usually don't raise suspicion.

He uses companies that he knows. He might know the owner or something. He opens accounts in that company's name to move the money.

I'm not sure, but I have seen fabric factories' names on the bank accounts where the staff receive their salary. So, when the money goes into these types of companies, where they have hundreds of staff and pay out salaries every month, it doesn't raise a flag.

Out of curiosity, how do you meet an agent like that who can assist you with the payment situation, especially when you're entering a new market like Korea?

The best way to find payment providers is through conferences, expos, and personal contacts. You may not find the names of these providers online. The most reliable ones usually don't advertise their services online, so it's often through word of mouth. When we attend expos like ICE or SiGMA in the Philippines, we always encounter payment providers.

We approach them and ask if they support the Korean Won. If they do, we take their details. After that, I consult with my friends in other operations and ask if they have heard of or used this company. If they have and their experience was positive, we consider using them. If not, they might recommend their own payment provider.

Networking and contacts are crucial in this industry. It's important to attend these expos, meet people, and collect their business cards. From there, you can ask your contacts about their experiences with these providers. If the feedback is positive, you can arrange a meeting, have a drink or coffee with them, or simply exchange emails or phone calls to get to know them better.

I imagine the initial conversation starts with introductions. How do these providers describe their services to you? Do they just tell you straight up?

At iGaming expos and conferences, they are usually very straightforward. When you attend these events, your badge often indicates your role, whether you're an operator, a B2B platform provider, a white label, or a payment provider. Payment providers will introduce themselves when they see 'operator' on your badge. They'll say something like, "Hi, I'm Alan from XYZ payment provider. We support the Korean Won and the Japanese Yen. Here's my business card."

They openly state that they're payment providers?

Yes, they openly identify themselves as payment providers. In the Philippines, for instance, online gambling is legal, so the conferences there are also legal. They don't need to hide their identities. However, if there was an iGaming conference in Malaysia or Thailand, it would be a different story.

In these places, they're more cautious. They might not directly say they're a payment provider. Instead, they might say they know someone who can provide support for the Thai Baht. But in the Philippines, Malta, and at ICE, they're very straightforward. They even have booths that say 'payment provider'.

To shift the conversation a bit, you mentioned earlier that in Indonesia, it's an open secret that bribes need to be paid for safety, and middlemen in India might need to be paid. In which other countries does this happen, and who needs to be paid and why?

Essentially, you need to pay in all Southeast Asian markets. Myanmar and Cambodia are exceptions; you can operate independently there, but you'll still need someone to help you open bank accounts. Agents are always needed for this. In major markets like Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, and India, agents are indispensable. They are the only ones who can prevent you from losing all your money as an operator.

Do these agents typically have connections in politics or law enforcement?

They definitely have connections in law enforcement. It's quite straightforward. Let's take India as an example. On average, we have 20 bank accounts from one agent. 10 are in use, and 10 are kept as backups at all times. Each account costs 100 USD a month to rent. So that's already 2,000 USD from us, one operator. If the agent has ten operators, he gets 20,000 USD. All he needs to do is pay 500 USD to someone in the cybercrime unit of law enforcement and ask them to alert him if there's going to be a freeze on a bank account. It's a small amount.

It's just the cost of doing business.

Exactly. In India, payment providers like these have many connections in governments and cybercrime units. Those with a good enough network will have a better reputation and attract more operators. If a new payment provider wants to start in India and provide services to support the INR, it would be very difficult for them.

It's all about reputation.

Yes, reputation is extremely important in India. In Indonesia, there are only five or six agents who can help you with everything, including paying bribes to the cybercrime units. There are only five or six, so you can't go wrong. India, on the other hand, is a hot and upcoming market. New payment providers want to enter and capture some of the market share. Having a good reputation as a payment provider is very important in India.

I'm also very interested in understanding who the major aggregators are in the region. There's not much information on Google. What's your perspective?

The one I work with is massive in Southeast Asia. They're very down-to-earth and quiet. Let me check, I have a list here. Just give me a moment.

It's important for me to understand who the major aggregators are, as they are a crucial part of the value chain. I'd appreciate if you could help me understand who the three or four largest are in the region.

One of them is the company I just mentioned. There is another popular one we use that is based in Europe. We only use these two aggregators, and they cover about 80% of all our games.

Regarding these aggregators, could you provide an estimate of GGR? I understand the market is highly fragmented.

I can't provide an exact figure, but I believe it's easily in the tens of millions, in euros. Almost every operator I know in Southeast Asia uses them. It's going to be a significant amount. There are larger operators than us that use them. The volume going through must be immense, but I can't provide an exact estimate.

I've been researching Asian operators, and I think I found some CEOs, but it's hard to confirm.

In Southeast Asia, people are often very discreet. For instance, my CEO prefers to remain unknown. I'm usually the first point of contact. The individuals you mentioned might just be figureheads. The majority owners of one of the largest operators are Malaysians and Singaporeans, and they are likely the ones calling the shots.

Is there a significant risk to the overall GGR in these markets that we haven't discussed or emphasized enough?

I believe one of the emerging risks is banks using AI to detect accounts used for gambling. This is already happening in India, according to my contacts. Hence, bank accounts are being frozen much faster than three or four years ago. Thailand is also starting to adopt this approach.
As an operator, the biggest risk is transferring money from the player to your account and then to your own wallet. With the rise of AI, detection will be faster. Legalization is not a concern. There have been rumors in Southeast Asia, particularly in Malaysia, about legalizing gambling, but this is unlikely given it's a Muslim country. Thailand has discussed it, but they're more likely to legalize land-based casinos first. They might consider legalizing online gambling after 10 years, but their focus is on land-based casinos as it brings in more revenue, creates jobs, and is easier to manage. Legalization should be a low priority. The main risk in Southeast Asia is the money transfer process.

That's an important point from the operator's perspective. Another question I had is about paying suppliers, for content and aggregation. Is it easy for you to pay them?

Yes, it is. All our settlements from each country are done in USDT when we have a healthy balance. We always leave a balance for winning payouts. All aggregators now use USDT, which makes it easier.

So you pay your aggregators in USDT?

Yes, we pay them in USDT.

Do you know if they pay Evolution in USDT or do they have to pay in dollars or euros?

I'm not sure about that. I could ask them, but he's quite secretive. We pay all aggregators and those we have direct contracts with in USDT.

What's the risk associated with using USDT? Could it disrupt the payment flow?

We haven't had any problems so far. Our USDT accounts are managed by our CEO and the accountant, so the risk of them absconding with the money is virtually nil. I believe USDT crypto is the best for operators and providers as it simplifies invoice payments. However, it doesn't work as well between operators and players.