Photos: Duc Anh
Government announces five-year trial of online gambling and betting shops.
Football gambling will be trialed for five years, both online and in betting shops, with a restricted distance between the shops and schools or children’s playgrounds, the government has recently announced.
During a meeting with relevant agencies on drafting guidelines on gambling in Vietnam, Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue requested they compile draft guidelines on horse and dog racing and football gambling.
The minimum distance between ticket sale points and schools and children’s playgrounds is 500 meters. Opening hours will not be solely decided by the gambling business.
Gambling businesses are only allowed to distribute betting tickets via phones and other electronic equipment if the provider of such services has at least five years of experience. The distribution of betting tickets via the internet will not be regulated.
Deputy PM Hue also requested that the Ministry of Finance (MoF) check and finalize the draft decree and submit it to the government before August 15.
In related news, Hong Kong’s Matrix Holding Limited Company is planning to invest in a horse racetrack in central Da Nang city. Ms. Huynh Lien Phuong, Deputy Director of Da Nang’s Investment Promotion Center, told VET in July that “Matrix Holding set up plans to conduct research on a horse racetrack three months ago. It has not yet submitted registration documents to the city.”
The total investment capital has not been announced but it will be no less than $45 million, which is the minimum capital required under a draft decree. The timeline for completing a racetrack project is four years from being licensed.
The company has been waiting for the decree on gambling on horse and dog racing and international football matches, a draft of which was submitted to the government in June.
Meanwhile, the Australian Golden Turf Club Limited Company received an investment license in June for a $100 million investment in a horse racetrack in south-central Phu Yen province. It includes a grandstand, horse and dog racing tracks, and a high-class tourism area.
A number of racetrack projects have already been approved in Vinh Phuc, Long An, Binh Duong, and Lam Dong provinces. Some have since been suspended while others have seen no movement because the government has not yet issued regulations on gambling services.
For example, South Korea’s G.O.Max proposed building a horse racetrack worth $570 million in 2007 in the northern province of Vinh Phuc, northwest of Hanoi.
Gambling on horse and dog racing were allowed in two projects in Ho Chi Minh City and nearby Ba Ria Vung Tau province, but the horse racing track was closed in 2011 after seven years of operation. The two courses were invested in by the Thien Ma Company and the Sport Entertainment Services Company.
Gambling services are sensitive business fields in Vietnam. The government has taken many years to study the sector. At the end of June, ministerial leaders told an MoF meeting that the decree on gambling services for horse and dog racing and international football matches has been submitted to the government for approval.