Delegate calls for sports betting legalisation in Vietnam

Delegate Pham Van Hoa has resurfaced Vietnam's sports betting plans.
Delegate Pham Van Hoa has resurfaced Vietnam's sports betting plans.

A delegate has argued that regulation is the only way to solve the problem of illegal sports betting.

Vietnam.- Vietnam began experimenting with the legalisation of gaming in 2017, allowing locals to enter some casinos. However, proposals to do something similar with sports betting haven’t got anywhere until now.

But this week, the idea resurfaced. Delegate Pham Van Hoa called on the minister of public security to legalise sports betting as a way to better manage clandestine activities.

According to VN Express, Van Hoa said: “I believe it is time for our country to put into practice the Decree on the Business of Betting on Horse Racing, Greyhound Racing and International Soccer for better management and taxation, while also limiting online betting.”

Hoa said that although authorities had broken up several illegal sports betting operations in recent years, illegal betting remained complex and widespread since the 2017 decree on the matter has yet to be implemented.

Hoa asked why progress had not been made with sports betting in the same way as with casinos.

Ho Duc Phoc, the minister of finance, noted that the prime minister had approved an initiative to build a racecourse in Soc Son District, Hanoi in 2020, but that the plan had not yet been implemented.

Other countries in the region have also been looking at plans to legalise gambling. A Thai government committed studying the feasibility of integrated resorts with casinos has submitted its final report to the National Assembly. 

The committee said that legalising casinos could allow Thailand to make billions from foreign investors, visitors and Thai gamblers who would otherwise spend their money in neighbouring countries. This latter point is one of the most surprising: the legislators are proposing that Thais would be allowed to play in casinos, as opposed to the regimes in Vietnam and South Korea that severely restrict locals’ access.

The proposal stipulates that Thai nationals over the age of 20 with a bank account containing at least 500,000 baht should be allowed to gamble.

Pichet Chuamuangphan, a lawmaker from the Pheu Thai Party and vice chairman of the panel, predicted at least THB400bn (US$11bn) in additional annual tax revenue once several venues are operating.

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