Vietnam has a long history with gambling, yet betting online is largely prohibited by law. So, exactly how are the Vietnamese people supposed to enjoy gambling online as a pastime? Let’s find out more about this country and gambling’s legal status there.
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Can you gamble online in Vietnam?
Gambling was outlawed by the communist regime which took up governance in Hanoi after the Vietnam War. That was how things remained until 2003, when the country opened itself up to foreign casino investors. Around 50 land-based casinos have opened their doors since then, all of which were designed to cater exclusively to foreign gamblers. However, certain venues now allow Vietnamese locals as part of a three-year trial that commenced in 2017.
All forms of online gambling are illegal in Vietnam. Citizens are prohibited from visiting foreign-operated online casinos, sportsbooks and poker rooms, with the government even attempting to block residents from accessing foreign platforms. Nevertheless, there are several online gambling operators that cater to players from Vietnam, offering their sites in the Vietnamese language and even allowing deposits in Vietnamese currency.
VND deposit options at online casinos
Vietnamese dong isn’t yet considered a major player among world currencies, so there aren’t a great deal of online gambling platforms that allow deposits and gameplay in VND. As such, it is most likely that online casino deposits will be converted into US dollars or another currency of the player’s choice for a small fee.
Nevertheless, Vietnamese casino players can make fast, secure deposits with one of the following well-known payment methods:
Credit and Debit Cards: Visa, MasterCard
eWallets: Neteller, Skrill, ecoPayz
Bank Transfers: Wire transfer, online banking
Vietnamese gambling laws
The nationwide ban on gambling has made it somewhat difficult for Vietnamese residents to access online gambling services. The only exceptions to these laws are state-run lotteries, which remain popular throughout the country.
Anyone who is caught operating illegal online casinos or land-based gambling dens in Vietnam can face up to two years in prison. Lengthy jail sentences and fines may also apply to any resident caught gambling with an unlicensed operator.
Nevertheless, the Vietnamese continue to bet on sport, racing, poker and chance games in large numbers. This can only be expected from a country with over 92 million citizens and a gambling culture that dates back hundreds of years. So, although most forms of gambling are outlawed in Vietnam, many residents find ways around the ban – albeit at their own risk.
History of gambling in Vietnam
The social landscape of Vietnam has changed considerably over the past century. Gambling was never really legal or illegal prior to World War II, but things changed after Vietnamese independence and the North’s eventual victory in the Vietnam War. Gambling was viewed as a capitalist luxury that had no place in a socialist society, so it was banned outright. That didn’t stop people from betting, but it made it an even riskier pursuit than usual.
Just as the Soviet Union softened and dissolved with the coming of the 1990s, so too did Vietnam’s old-school communist leaders give way to a new breed of government. Wide-ranging social, political and economic reforms led to the establishment of a state lottery in 1999. That proved a popular move and was soon followed by the first of many tourist casinos, which continue to attract gamblers and investors from all over the world.
For years, only foreigners were allowed to gamble at Vietnamese casinos. However, growing support for a legitimate gambling industry has forced the government to reconsider its position. In 2017, select casinos opened their doors to Vietnamese locals as part of a three-year trial to determine the viability of wholesale gambling reform. Patrons must be 21 years or older, free of criminal charges, and able to prove a monthly income of at least USD $440.
Will Vietnam legalise online casinos?
Recent reforms would suggest that Vietnam is beginning to soften towards gambling on the whole. Locals can now gamble at Vietnamese casinos instead of trekking across the border to Cambodia, while some politicians have also proposed the legalisation of betting shops.
Things are far less rosy when it comes to online gambling. More than 200 offshore gambling sites were on the Vietnamese government’s blacklist in 2012, and recent estimates suggest that number may have tripled since then. Police raids and online betting crackdowns have become a regular occurrence, particularly in the lead-up to major sporting events such as the FIFA World Cup.
Nevertheless, there is cause for optimism. Vietnam boasts a fast-growing economy that would benefit hugely from the introduction of a regulated online gaming industry. Most of all, the casino trials indicate that Hanoi is open to change. Watch this space.
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