Vietnam minister considering football betting plan

The Vietnam government is considering a plan to legalise football betting in a bid to stop rampant illegal gambling. The move is expected to generate up to US$50 million a year for the government, state-controlled media have reported. Thanh Nien (Young People) newspaper quoted Vice Sports Minister Huynh Vinh Ai as saying his ministry is working on the proposal and will submit it to the government for approval later this year.

Betting on football is illegal in Vietnam although the country allows gambling on horse and dog racing and has had a legal lottery for many years and the minister said legalizing football betting in Vietnam makes sense as a way to control a huge public phenomenon that has generated multiple scandals in the country's football industry. "In Vietnam, the interests for betting are huge," he said. "We therefore need to have a legal formula on betting on soccer matches."

In January Nguyen Danh Thai, director of the country's National Sports and Physical Training Committee, copied the Vietnam Football Federation with a proposal it was sending to the government that would permit but regulate gambling in football for the benefit of sports and taxation.

Minister Ai said the government has still not decided whether to allow bets on only domestic matches or open it to international games. "We will benefit a lot because (we) can legally manage people who place bets on soccer matches and we can make an estimated profit of US$44 million-US$50 million a year," he said adding the money will be invested to develop football and other sports.

If the football gambling project is approved by the government, legalized betting will be initially tried out in several provinces over the next year or so, he said.

See also: Vietnam police raid 'illegal football gambling' home (27 Feb) and How Australia responds to surge in sports betting (12 Feb) and Football gambling a possibility in Vietnam (9 Jan)