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World Cup betting not allowed in Vietnam despite complete legal framework

Saturday, June 16, 2018, 10:58 GMT+7
World Cup betting not allowed in Vietnam despite complete legal framework
Vietnamese fans watch the opening game between Russia and Saudi Arabia of the FIFA World Cup 2018 at a café in Go Vap District, Ho Chi Minh City on June 14. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Vietnamese citizens are still not allowed to wager on matches during the 2018 FIFA World Cup, even though sportsbook has been legalized and relevant legal guidelines are already in place, as there are no licensed football betting businesses in the country.

All international football betting activities in Vietnam remained illegal as of June 14, the day Russia 2018 kicked off, according to a representative of the Ministry of Finance.

The announcement came on the same day when Vietnam’s lawmaking National Assembly ratified an amendment to its current regulations on sports, including the statute governing sports betting.

The legalization followed a government-backed a pilot program that became effective on March 31, 2017, allowing Vietnamese citizens over the age of 21 to place wagers on FIFA-recognized international football matches, horse and greyhound races.

Bettors must have an account with a state-approved bookmaker, with a wager limit of VND1 million (US$44) per day.

In the meantime, a bookmaker has to meet strict capital requirements, VND1 trillion ($44.2 million) for horse racing and football, and VND300 billion ($13.2 million) for greyhound, to be able to obtain a business license.

A bidding process was expected to be held to select one football betting company for a five-year trial phase.

Under the pilot program, eligible Vietnamese bettors can wager on 15 football competitions, including the 2018 World Cup, the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia, the AFF Suzuki Cup later this year.

No licensed bookmarker

However, even though the 2018 World Cup already started in Russia, Vietnamese are not allowed to start betting on the tournament, as the government has yet to grant the license to any football bookmaker.

This has enabled illegal betting activities to take place, both at gambling dens and on online rings, in Vietnam during the course of world’s biggest football competition.

As of Thursday, no firm has been selected to provide legitimate international football betting service in Vietnam, a leader from the Ministry of Finance told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.

The official did not elaborate whether it is because no businesses had shown interest in applying for a license, or because none of the applications was able to meet the high capital requirement.

“It remains unknown when the betting activities will be actually conducted,” he admitted.

“As long as the law does not allow it, I hope people do not punt on [illegal] betting rings because it is breaking the law,” he advised.

“The World Cup started, every fan should be wise to enjoy football in pleasure.”

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Bao Anh / Tuoi Tre News

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