Timor-Leste Strategy: Establishing a Gambling Association to Become a Regional Gaming Center

Timor-Leste, also known as East Timor, has announced its ambition to become the regional gaming licensing center in Southeast Asia. They created the industry-specific “Virtual Gaming Association” (VGA) of Timor-Leste, covering an area spanning the eastern half of the island and the western half of Indonesia.

VGA’s goal is to become a “friendly global licensing jurisdiction”, promote excellence in gaming licensing and regulation, and actively engage with industry partners and members through consultation.

VGA is committed to improving practices including “player protection measures” and “technological requirements for operators.” They also aim to lay the groundwork for Timor-Leste to become one of the most attractive jurisdictions for the gaming industry in the world.

It is important to note that East Timor gained independence from Indonesia in 2022 after decades of occupation, becoming the youngest country in the Southeast Asian region.

Timor-Leste, according to The World Factbook, has a lower-middle-income economy for the Southeast Asian region, with a GDP at purchasing power parity of $6.6 billion in 2021. It uses the US dollar and is characterized by a large public sector with a relatively small private sector.

The country is clearly focused on attracting foreign investment, and research into the gaming sector indicates a desire to further develop the limited presence of private business in the territory.

VGA predicts a positive future for Timor-Leste’s gambling sector, noting that two-thirds of the country’s population is under 30 years of age. They hope to create employment opportunities for this group through the development of the gaming industry.

Authorities in Timor-Leste see potential for new job creation in call centers, data centers and the development of luxury resorts and casinos. The latter could signal a desire to replicate Indonesia’s success as a popular holiday destination for Europeans and Australians.

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