Vietnamese football betting rings have continued to operate during the ongoing UEFA European Championship, despite the police’s efforts to stop them, according to the Ministry of Public Security.
Since the beginning of the tournament, officers have broken up two inter-provincial football betting rings with total value amounting to VND7.6 trillion (US$339 million) in Hai Phong City and Hai Duong Province in northern Vietnam.
However, the illicit gambling rackets have remained extremely intricate, police officials from the Ministry of Public Security have said.
The UEFA Euro 2016 tournament takes place from June 10 to July 10 in France.
According to an owner of one motorcycle shop on Ly Tu Trong Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, his business has been flourishing since the football championship started.
“It’s been easy to win. You just have to pick the ‘underdogs.’ Thanks to that, many people have earned enough money to afford expensive rides and smartphones,” the owner explained.
Sharing a similar opinion, one police official remarked that many brokers and operators of betting rings have been hiding or temporarily stopped their activities.
Results of the matches have been too predictable, resulting in many punters winning big, causing many betting rings to go out of business, the official elaborated.
There have not been any suicides recorded as in previous UEFA Euro and FIFA World Cup tournaments, he added.
One of the main reasons is that there has been a decrease in the number of amateur gamblers this year, according to the police official.
Difficult to handle
Despite the obvious activities of gamblers and betting rings in the country, dealing with the situation has not been an easy task, said one police officer under the Ministry of Public Security.
“We have to figure out the people a bettor gambles with, along with the exact amount of money he gambles in each match and the sum of his wins and losses before concluding if he will be criminally charged,” the officer explained.
In reality, many large-scale betting rings have erased all evidence against them by hiring IT experts and placing their servers in foreign countries.
Using only the Internet, punters can place their bets without having to contact anyone.
Any trace of money transfers have also been covered up, making it difficult for police to deal with.
According to the officer, betting rings broken up by police recently were just regular-scale operations.
“The ‘big bosses’ have cut off their tails as soon as the smaller units of the syndicate were busted, deleting any evidence that could lead back to them,” he said.