BUSINESS

Vietnam busts second World Cup online betting ring in a week

TAGs: 2018 fifa world cup, thailand, Vietnam

vietnam-online-sports-betting-bust-332betVietnam’s online sports bettors have one less wagering option after police made their second major bust in less than a week.

On Tuesday, Vietnamnet Bridge reported that police in the northern Thanh Hóa Province had arrested 11 people suspected of involvement in an online football betting operation that reportedly handled nearly VND100b (US$4.4m) in wagers since the 2018 FIFA World Cup got underway earlier this month.

The ringleaders reportedly had connections with 332bet.com, a password-protected gambling site based in the Philippines’ Cagayan Economic Zone. The group paid VND2b for a master account on the website, then solicited wagers from local residents. Police claimed to have seized over VND700m ($30,500) in cash in addition to dozens of phones and computers.

This latest bust follows hot on the heels of last Friday’s bust of an online betting ring in Ho Chi Minh City. That operation, which was linked to Philippines-licensed operator 12bet, reportedly handled $26.2m worth of wagers since last year.

Meanwhile, Wednesday saw Thailand’s anti-betting brigades claim that their tally of World Cup wagering arrests has now topped 6,500, more than twice the number the authorities had claimed in the tournament’s first four days.

Of those arrested, a mere 250 or so were actual bookies, while the rest were just poor sods who disagree with their government’s total ban on not just sports betting, but literally any form of gambling other than the much-derided government lotteries.

On the plus side, the police reported that no civil servants or “influential individuals” were caught up in the dragnet, at least, none that weren’t able to buy their way out of finding their names on police blotters. Police also reported failing to detain any youths engaged in illegal betting, which must mean that those crazy kids are using their digital noodles to avoid detection by those clueless adults.

Police have now seized THB28m ($850k) in cash during their sweeps and The Nation reported that the Anti-Money Laundering Office froze 77 accounts containing THB25.6m linked to 64 online betting sites, including bkk999.com, fifa555asia.com, hlthailand.com and sport4xonline.com.

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