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Local citizens permitted for sports betting

Released at: 20:00, 06/02/2017

Local citizens permitted for sports betting

Photo: Duc Anh

The government will undergo a five-year trial period for gambling on horse and dog racing and international football matches.

by Hong Nhung

Vietnam has finally made a historic decision to legalize sports betting after many years of deliberation.

A new decree was just released on the government’s official website a few days ago that will officially allow local citizens to bet on horse and dog racing and international football matches starting on March 31.

Accordingly, Vietnamese gamblers betting on international football matches must be over 21 years of age. There will be a minimum bet of VND10,000 (about $0.45) and a maximum of VND1 million (around $45) on each type of bet per gambler per day.

In order to get the Investment Registration Certification, bookmaking businesses will have to meet strict capital requirements including having an investment level of at least VND1 trillion ($45 million) for horse racing and soccer and VND300 billion ($13.2 million) for horse and dog racing. A bidding process will be held to select one football betting provider for a five-year trial phase.

Vietnamese authorities started working on sports betting regulations in 1999 but continuous controversial opinions have delayed the legalization for years.

Vietnam now has one horse and dog racecourse in the southern beach town of Vung Tau province. Hanoi plans to build a large-scale entertainment complex with an investment of $500 million but that has been delayed for some time. Other investors have also been waiting for the green light from authorities before moving ahead on their projects.

In the latest news, the $100 million Dai Nam racecourse was officially opened in the southern Binh Duong province at the end of last January.

The government last month said it would allow citizens over 21 with a monthly income of at least VND10 million ($445) to gamble in local casinos from mid-March under a three-year pilot program, breaking a long-year ban of gambling among Vietnamese people.

All these recent movements show that the government has shifted its stance on gambling, which was once considered a “social evil.”

Many locals have broken the long-running gambling ban, creating a lucrative illegal industry for online betting. A number of online operations have been busted in recent years.

According to the decree, bets can only be made on international football matches and tournaments which are held outside the territory of Vietnam or organized by international organizations within Vietnam. 

Players must present identification to prove their eligibility when businesses and state management agencies require them.

The decree has also clarified that the betting business is a conditional business, not to be encouraged for development, subject to the strict control of the authorized state management agencies in order to ensure compliance with the provisions in the decree and the regulations of relevant laws.

The betting business organizations must ensure transparency, objectivity, and honesty to protect the rights and interests of all parties.

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