A Vietnam-facing online gambling site is using the Facebook Live streaming service to market its wares to punters.
According to a report by Zing.vn, a Facebook fan page named Co Bac Vip (VIP Gambling) recently streamed a 45-minute video of a girl in what appears to be an online gambling live dealer studio playing the popular Vietnamese xoc dia game, in which coin-shaped tokens are shaken in a bowl, which is then inverted, revealing the lucky (or not) result.
The video was played in a loop all day, attracting over 54k views and 2,100 comments. The page included links that took users to Cobacvip.com, an actual online gambling site where players could wager real money on xoc dia and other casino games or bet on sports.
Casino gambling is illegal in Vietnam, unless you’re a foreign tourist or a Vietnamese citizen holding an international passport. The government is toying with the idea of relaxing these restrictions, but they’ve been saying that for a while, and until that happy day arrives, local residents’ only options are underground gambling dens, casinos located across the border in Cambodia or internationally licensed online gambling sites.
Online sports betting is also illegal, a fact underscored by numerous busts of sites taking wagers on the Euro 2016 football tournament. The most prominent bust saw 23 individuals detained for their connection to a ring that handled over $340m in football wagers.
The site’s ringleader managed to evade the authorities’ grasp until this week, when 43-year-old Bui Quang Duong was arrested in Hai Phong. Thann Nien News quoted police saying that when Duong learned of his henchmen being arrested, he fled by boat to a small town in Quang Ninh province. Recognizing the inevitable, police say Duong has admitted his guilt.
Vietnam’s Penal Code imposes harsh penalties on betting organizers, but bettors are subject to similarly harsh penalties based on the size of their wager. For bets below VND 50m ($2,240), bettors face fines of VND 5-50m and jail terms of three months to three years. Wagers above VND 50m will land you in jail for two to seven years.