Vietnam Considering Gambling as Potential Revenue Source


Since 1975 when the Communist Party took control of Vietnam, gambling has been largely considered to be illegal for the country’s residents primarily because of the party’s policies that sought to eradicate societal ills in the country.  As of this writing, under the country’s Penal Code, Vietnamese residents who place bets exceeding $88 can be taken to custody – if they any further and place bets of over $2,2000 they face imprisonment for a period of between two and 7 years.

As it turns, the situation might take a turn for the better thanks to plans by the Communist Party which has of late been seriously considering ways to raise state revenues and, apparently, the legalization of gambling is one of the ways being considered. It all started in 2017 when the country’s government initiated a motion to permit local people to gamble in specific casinos in the country.

The local government’s policies with regards to gambling have been changing significantly over the last few years with some of the most significant recent development being the passing of a number of reforms that seek to change the extremely strict gambling legislation. As such, a key September 2016 resolution set to allow foreign investors to invest in the establishment of the so-called integrated casinos. This was followed by the roll-out of a 5-year program that allowed international football, horse and greyhound racing in2017. As much as this was a significant development in the space, all three of them were subject to very heavy regulatory measures.

The country’s government also launched a three-year trial program under which the residents will be allowed to gamble but under the condition that they do not have any criminal record have monthly incomes of at least $445 and have express permission from their families. Under the program, daily casino passes cost the local citizens about $44.

The New Relaxed Gambling Regime

In early 2018, Vietnamese authorities permitted the establishment of a new horse racing and entertainment facility that was estimated at $500 million – this was part of the 2020 socio-economic development plan of the capital. According to local media, the entertainment complex is set to be established on a large parcel of agricultural land in Soc Jan and should begin operations in early 2021. The country’s government hopes that the new horse racing track will boost local tourism and bring some fresh money into its economy. Also, once operational, the project is expected to create up to 5,000 jobs and account for a significant portion of Hanoi’s regular income.

All things considered, the local authorities have carefully considered the impact of the more relaxed gambling regime. In fact, the even commissioned a study to measure the negative impacts that unlawful gambling operations would have on the people and the findings were very interesting, to say the least. Illegal gaming operations worth billions of dollars are in business and perhaps a more relaxed and properly regulated gambling regulation is the antidote to that particular problem.


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