Timor Leste sets up gambling association to target regional igaming hub status

Timor Leste sets up gambling association to target regional igaming hub status

Timor Leste, also known as East Timor, has announced ambitions to become a regional hub for gaming licensing in Southeast Asia, creating an industry association for this purpose.

The territory – which comprises the eastern section of the island of Timor, with the western half of Indonesia – has set up the Virtual Gaming Association (VGA) of Timor-Leste to work towards its igaming objectives.

Targeting status as an ‘friendly global licensing jurisdiction’, Timor Leste has set up the VGA to promote best practices regarding igaming licensing and regulation, and is currently involved in consultations with industry partners and its members.

A statement from the VGA further detailed that the best practices it seeks to refine include ‘player protection measures’ and ‘technological requirements for operators’.

The association also has an objective of ‘developing the framework that makes Timor-Leste one of the most business-friendly jurisdictions globally for the igaming industry’.

Timor Leste secured independence from Indonesia in 2022 after several decades of occupation, making the territory Southeast Asia’s youngest country.

According to The World Factbook, the country is a ‘lower middle-income Southeast Asian economy’ with a GDP in terms of purchasing power parity of $6.6bn in 2021. Timor Leste uses the US dollar and has a large public sector, with a small private sector. 

The country is apparently eager to accept foreign investment, and its probing of the igaming sector seems to be indicative of a desire to further grow the aforementioned limited presence of private business in the territory.

Projecting a strong future for the Timor Leste igaming sector, the VGA cites that two-thirds of the country’s population is under 30, and hopes that employment opportunities can be generated for this demographic by cultivating a gaming sector.

Timor Leste authorities hope that new jobs can be created in call centres, data centres and via the development of a luxury resort and casino – the latter perhaps suggesting the country aims to replicate Indonesia’s success as a popular holiday destination for Europeans and Australians.