Sports bettors in Laos are especially looking forward to the upcoming FIFA World Cup now that the state lottery has decided to offer online football wagering. The Lao Development Lottery State Enterprise plans to launch its new service this month, which will allows Laotian punters the ability to wager on the major international football leagues from the comfort of their own home. Not bad for a bunch of Marxists, huh?
A state lottery employee told the Vientane Times that punters will have the option of placing wagers on the outcome of a single match in addition to parlay wagers. Plans are afoot to open 20 branches in the capital Vientane at which punters can open and fund their online accounts. There are no plans as yet to open such branches outside the capital. Once opened, punters’ winnings will be paid into their online accounts, while losing wagers will be deducted until the balance is exhausted and a return trip to the local branch office is required. No information regarding caps on individual wagers has been made public.
Laos has had a small domestic casino industry that relies on a steady influx of Cambodian and Thai gamblers, but sports betting represents uncharted territory. With the World Cup bearing down like a freight train, Laos is likely adopting an ‘if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em’ mentality. However, it remains to be seen how much of the betting action the state lottery’s new offering will be able to capture. In 2010, French sports bettors had a bevy of new options available after the country allowed operators other than Française des Jeux and Pari Mutuel Urbain to take wagers on the World Cup, but more than half of punters continued to choose the internationally-licensed online operators they’d come to know and love.