Growing voices support sports betting in Vietnam

More supporters say legalisation of sports betting could be a boon for the Vietnamese economy.
More supporters say legalisation of sports betting could be a boon for the Vietnamese economy.

Several officials believe legalising sports betting could help Vietnam’s tourism industry recover from the Covid-19 crisis.

Vietnam.- Several Vietnamese officials are in favour of legalising sports gambling in the country as a way to help tourism recover from the impact of the Covid-19 crisis.

In a seminar that took place in Hanoi, government representatives said the legalisation of sports betting could bring in billions of dollars to the country.

The timing of the proposal comes as foreign visitors from 80 countries will be allowed to enter Vietnam again from July 1.

Gambling is still mostly illegal in Vietnam for local people, but the Ministry of Finance is drafting an amendment to the current decree in force to allow betting on horse racing, greyhound racing and international football.

At this week’s seminar, which brought together government representatives, economists and betting companies, economist Nguyen Mại said: “It is necessary to have mechanisms and policies to attract investors in the prize-winning entertainment industry as it will help the tourism to gain back.”

According to the National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), international tourists currently spend between $400 and $600 per visit, and an increase to $1,500 could mean income of up to $15 billion a year in the country.

Nguyen Van Phung, head of the Tax Policy Department at the Ministry of Finance, said the country would obtain 10 per cent from value added tax from the industry and between 10 and 30 per cent from the special consumption tax.

Supporters say legal regulation for activities such as horse racing or sports betting will be needed to develop the sector, and incentives will be needed for investors.

It has been suggested Vietnam learn from experiences nearby in China, Singapore and Malaysia how to build a legal system for “prize-winning activities” such as horse racing and dog racing.

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