While legal football betting businesses operate at the best betting site illegal gambling dens continue to thrive, only to be raided and reappear. Players keep gambling, and billions of dollars flow out of the country every year.
The State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) has recently issued Document 4347/NHNN-TT instructing credit institutions and entities within the system to enhance security measures, safety, crime prevention, and compliance with laws related to gambling and football betting.
Accordingly, these agencies are required to guide the public not to engage in prohibited activities such as renting, leasing, borrowing, or lending payment accounts; buying, selling, renting, or leasing cards or card information; opening bank accounts for others; renting, leasing, borrowing, or lending e-wallets; or buying, selling e-wallet information.
They should not use or enable others to use payment accounts, bank cards, or e-wallets to conduct money transfers related to gambling, football betting, and other illegal purposes.
Numerous football betting cases have been cracked down upon, involving billions of dollars.
Data from Ladbrokes, a betting company in the UK, shows that the estimated revenue from illegal football betting in Vietnam accounts for 3-5% of GDP (around $10 billion). Most of this enormous amount is illegally flowing out of the country each year.
Vietnam has enacted regulations on horse racing, dog racing, and international football betting since the beginning of 2017 (Decree 06/ND-CP 2017), laying the foundation for legal gambling activities. However, it has not yet attracted investors.
The reason is the flawed and impractical regulations. For example, according to Decree 06/2017, only international football matches and tournaments announced and approved by the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) are eligible for betting activities in Vietnam. Therefore, the entire system of national championships, including prestigious tournaments like the English Premier League, German Bundesliga, Spanish La Liga, and Italian Serie A, which are held throughout the year and attract the most attention, is not included in the permitted list for betting.
Immediately after the issuance of Decree 06/2017, people immediately recognized its flaws. In reality, FIFA-organized football tournaments are not frequent, only occurring every 2-4 years, with a short duration of 10-30 days. Due to the low frequency of betting activities, coupled with high investment requirements (according to regulations, companies participating in betting activities must have a minimum charter capital of VND 1,000 billion), investors find it difficult to recover their investments within the 5-year trial period.
Therefore, after 4 years of issuing Decree 06/2017, no enterprise has been selected to participate in the trial operation of football betting businesses.
Recognizing this, since June 2020, the Ministry of Finance has been seeking opinions to amend and supplement this decree, with the hope of "liberating" the betting business activities in Vietnam. The draft allows betting on tournaments in European countries that take place continuously throughout the year.
However, the Ministry of Finance wants to maintain the provision that only allows betting through phones and prohibits the use of the Internet. Many believe that while the Internet is increasingly developing, restricting betting without using the Internet will limit the participation of people. Therefore, if the regulation is issued as proposed, it will likely fail. However, one year has passed since the Ministry of Finance planned to amend this decree, and it has not been issued yet.
Therefore, the legality of betting remains uncertain to this day. This is an opportunity for illegal betting operations to flourish, as they keep re-emerging and cannot be completely eradicated. Even if the State Bank issues regulations and provides guidance to enhance security measures and prevent online gambling through the banking system, it cannot fully stop it.