Vietnam moves closer to legalising football betting

The Social Republic of Vietnam's ministry of finance is drafting for government consideration an ordinance on lottery, betting rules for sports and entertainment activities, Thanh Nien newspaper reported. According to the draft, a limited or joint stock company with reserve capital of at least VND70 billion (US$4.4 million) could launch a betting service.

Betting rules will be issued by companies for each particular game or sport, of which companies will repay wagers to customers if the game or sport activities is cancelled or stopped mid way. The betting operation must be run independent of the sports or games activities themselves. "Amidst high demand from sports fans, there has been increasing calls for legal betting, creating a lofty new source of income to the national treasury," the youth association newspaper commented.

In March, the ministry of finance chaired a conference in Ho Chi Minh City to discuss the proposed ordinance. Delegates from lottery companies, the sports federation and the ministries of finance and public security analysed the benefits of legalised betting, including profits which could be utilised to develop amateur sports and providing an option to "underground betting". The ministry earlier estimated annual revenues from football betting could be as high as VND800 billion ($50.384 million).

Vietnam also allows race track betting on horses and dogs and certain prize-winning games. The country has two dog and horse bookmakers and 33 enterprises including 22 foreign-invested ones specializing in prize-winning games. Last year, the state lottery sector contributed over VND5 trillion (US$312.5 million) to the Exchequer.

See also: Betting scandal impacts on Vietnam's government (20 Apr)