Vietnam formally okays betting on international football matches


vietnam-international-football-bettingVietnam has released its formal decree on allowing local punters to wager on international football matches, as well as horse- and dog-racing.

In late January, Vietnam’s government published Decree 06/2017/ND-CP, which lays down rules for a five-year trial program under which local punters will be allowed to wager on select sporting events. As with most government gambling policies, the decree has been years in the making, during which time unauthorized betting operations have continued to flourish in this betting-mad country.

Most of the decree’s elements have been circulating for months, including the controversial cap of VND 1m ($45) that any individual can wager per day with any one authorized betting firm. Critics have been vocal on how this cap will fail to deter serious bettors from seeking out higher limits at any number of internationally licensed online betting sites that serve the Vietnamese market.

The decree’s other requirements include limiting legal wagering to those 21 years of age or older, and football wagers will be limited to matches that have the approval of international football overseers FIFA. The decree says the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism will issue specifics regarding eligible matches for betting.

The decree requires bettors to wager via authorized retail betting agencies, which can’t be located within 500 meters of a school or children’s park. The decree doesn’t allow for online or mobile wagering, despite earlier suggestions of wagering via “other means of telecommunication.”

Last month’s other gambling decree, which confirmed the three-year trial of allowing local residents to gamble in select brick-and-mortar casinos, contained similar prohibitions against offering online gambling.

Several Vietnamese casinos have set up online ‘proxy betting’ sites that stream live dealer action to gamblers based outside the country, usually in mainland China. Presumably the government won’t act against these operations unless it determines that the proxy operator is permitting local residents to access their systems.