Wednesday, October 5, 2022
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Vietnam Battling Illegal Sports Betting, Calls for Full Legalization Resurface

During a Q&A part of the 14th session of 15th National Assembly Standing Committee, the Minister of Public Security was asked about the state of sports betting within the country. His answers mostly boiled down to lack of regulatory bodies and compliant businesses to operate legally within the industry, which is currently entirely underground and is posing serious risks to public safety amid increasing gambling crime rates. 

Sports Betting Might Become Reality After All

Vietnam has a difficult history with gambling and without a legal outlet, the population has been acting out, contributing to the current situation, where the country is rife with illegal forms of gambling. An especially prominent branch of this black market is illegal sports betting, which climbs in severity around and during big international sports events.

The topic of sports betting was again picked up during the Q&A part of day two of the 14th session of 15th National Assembly Standing Committee, which started on August 9 and is scheduled to last a total of three days. Local reports on the matter comment on how ludicrous the situation is getting, as gambling crimes and illegal gambling are starting to threaten public security.

VNExpress cited delegate Pham Van Hoa calling to Minister of Public Security To Lam and expressing his views that the decree on the business of betting on horse racing, greyhound racing and international soccer, which passed almost four years ago, should be implemented more widely and in haste. By making the business of sports betting a legal one, there will be an increase in tax revenue, as well as a decline in police spending which relates to gambling crimes and cracking down on illegal gambling, plus all the money the citizens are exporting through illegal online gambling and illegal online sports betting will be kept within the country.

However, To Lam was also asked specific questions by delegates, inquiring why the implementation of sports betting that the decree allows for hasn’t materialized yet. All of the cited reasons revolve around the lack of any agencies established that would be tasked specifically with regulating sports betting, and also there are no businesses or completed projects that comply with the decree and are ready to operate. At best, there are multiple ideas and researches circulating within the gaming space but nothing concrete.

This feels like an inexplicable repeat of the situation after the 2017 pilot that the government developed to create a license for a betting operator to hold bets on international soccer events and matches, which was aimed at launching in time for citizens to place bets on FIFA 2018 matches. Almost all local follow-up reports in the following year, however, covered how there was not a single operator to even apply for the license.

Just last month Fun88 launched its fun88zone.net website for Vietnam, updating the link from its Philippine servers, thus allowing Vietnamese players to enjoy all of its offerings, which include virtual sports betting and sports betting. Additional securities are being put into place to ensure that the players’ funds will be safe.

Vietnam Upping its Casino Game

However, the casino gambling space is seemingly faring much better. The 2017 legislation efforts of Vietnamese lawmakers also allowed for the creation or licensing of casinos in which locals could gamble for the 2019-2022 period. Unfortunately, this is exactly when the global pandemic hit and the pilot didn’t manage to gather much information due to casinos not being open. As a result, the government wanted more casinos included in that list of establishments where locals could game, as well as extended the trial period by two years.

What’s also important, is that casinos can also be a great way to attract tourists, especially if done in the right way. Halo casinos, such as those in big name hotels or expensive resorts, are a great way to attract attention, and the government was mulling over whether to allow casinos in five-star hotels in Ho Chi Min City.

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