Vietnam soccer betting and casino reforms edge closer

 

The National Assembly Standing Committee backed draft government regulations for international soccer, horse and dog racing while officials also discussed a trial run for allowing locals to enter casinos. Phung Quoc Hien, chairman of the assembly’s finance and budget committee, suggested the government allow qualified locals, such as those with high incomes and clean criminal records, access to a proposed casino in the Van Don Economic Zone as a pilot program given heavy Vietnamese traffic to casinos in Cambodia. Nguyen Sinh Hung, chairman of the assembly, agreed that the draft decree should establish a “legal foundation” to establish criteria for Vietnamese to enter casnos and said the Politburo had discussed the issue.

 

Quang Ninh province, which borders China, has been seeking investors for the $4 billion Van Don casino resort project. The finance committee also suggested that draft regulations be amended to regulate casino numbers and capacity though members also suggested a proposed requirement establishing $4 billion as minimum capital for new casinos may be unrealistic.

Under the draft betting rules, sports bettors will be limited to wagering 10,000 dong to 1 million dong (47 cents-$47) a day. Nguyen Van Hien, chairman of the assembly’s justice committee, said the range was too low, and recommended 50,000-5 million dong a day to prevent bettors with bigger appetites from continuing to use illegal bookies, saying 10,000 dong was “a small amount, only enough for a bunch of vegetables.” Truong Thi Mai, chairwoman of the social affairs committee, however said the proposed range “was not right” as it was too low to discourage the poor.

Under the proposed regulations, a state company with capital of at least 500 billion dong will be licensed to organize international football betting while horse racing would require capital of 1 trillion dong and dog racing 300 billion dong. Pilot programs on horse and dog racing have been going on for several years, but Nguyen Kim Khoa, chairman of the defense and security committee, questioned why no move had been made to allow betting on traditional Vietnamese games like water buffalo and cock fighting.