The most popular casino games to play in Asia

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The Asia Pacific region has the fastest growing market in the world for casino gaming. Now valued at $26.61 billion US dollars, the casino industry is expected to reach $53.83 billion dollars in this region alone by 2029. 

Rising access to high speed internet and high smartphone adoption rates are helping to drive this trend. Players now have easy access to play casino games online on sites such as Bally’s Casino UK and enjoy the convenience of being able to play in a time and place that suits them.

The Chinese region of Macau is Asia’s largest casino city and is known as the Monte Carlo of the East. Tourism from the casino sector brings in around 50 percent of Macau’s economic revenue as international visitors flock there to experience its grand casino venues.

While poker and blackjack remain some of the most popular table casino games globally, there are a number of other casino games that are well loved by players in Asia. many of these originate in the region or were first introduced by travellers many years ago. 

Here are the top games to enjoy when in Asia:

Mahjong

You may have already heard of the game Mahjong as it is frequently played online in the West. The game is played using sets of tiles and depending on where you have played it before, you may have heard of different rules. There is an American variation with bingo type scoring cards, or in Asia there is the more popular Chinese prevailing wind system.

It is unknown exactly where Mahjong originates, it could be based on the ancient card game Madiao but there are also those that believe the game was first created by Confucius.  Mahjong is usually played around a table with four players.

Each player starts with 13 titles and must try to collect groups of the same tile. To succeed you need to aim to have four groups of three tiles and one pair of the same. 

While one game of Mahjong does not tend to go on for long, players usually enjoy whole sessions of the game that can last for hours of entertainment. There are some rule variations around when you card discard unwanted tiles and pick up new ones.

Baccarat

Baccarat is not technically an Asian game but it is very popular in casinos in the region, the roots of Baccarat are actually believed to be in France and Italy. The game was particularly popular with French nobility in the 19th century and spread across Europe before eventually making its way to the United States and then to Asia.

This card game is an exciting game of chance, it involves the player needing to bet on which hand out of two (either the player’s or the banker’s) has the highest possible points out of nine.

Cards are numbered from two to nine in accordance with their face value and the ace card is worth one point. For double digit cards. the second digit automatically becomes the value of the hand.

Players place their bets before the cards have been dealt. They can either choose the banker’s hand, the player’s hand or a tie.

There are instances when a third card is drawn. For example, if neither the banker’s hand or the player’s hand totals 8 or 9, the dealer may draw an additional card on one or more hands, depending on what its current total is.

Pachinko

If you have been to Japan you might have spotted signs for Pachinko. This game is similar to a Western pinball machine that has been combined with an electronic slot machine.

The aim of the game is to shoot small balls in the hopes of hitting one of the holes in the walls. If a ball enters a hole, a lock begins and the wheels begin to turn. If the wheels do not spin you know you have won a prize.

Players in Japan often enjoy this game in one of the country’s many dedicated pachinko parlours, however it has been adapted for online play and can be found on some casino and gaming websites.

Keno

It is believed by some that the game Keno was used to help raise money to build the Great Wall of China. It is similar to playing the lottery and bingo and has been around for centuries. 

Keno starts with the player being given a card with numbers between 1 and 80. The player must then choose up to 20 numbers and place their bet. Following this a total of 20 numbered balls or pellets are randomly drawn from a container, if they match up with those selected the player can win prizes.

Originally played in China, you can now find Keno in casinos across the world. Players enjoy its simplicity and ease of play.