The History of Gambling in Vietnam

Gambling has been part of Vietnamese culture for centuries, although as an industry, it’s still a young, unknown market.  For the Vietnamese, gambling games have held more focus on obtaining “luck” than for financial gain.  In the past, gambling has been more of a social, small-time enterprise – take the traditional Vietnamese gambling game called Bau Cua Ca Cop, which, translated, means “Gourd Crab Fish Tiger”.  This simple betting game has been played by children, families and communities on a national scale for decades; as individuals seek to secure “luck” for the coming year.


Despite this, the Vietnamese government has held a dim view on casinos and other forms of gambling such as M88 online casino however, due to its dislike for anything that smacks of capitalism, and gambling has been almost entirely prohibited to its citizens.


However, there has been evidence of a thawing in the government’s attitude towards gambling, with the issue of a number of gambling licences to casino resorts across the country – although at present, only foreigners are permitted to use these facilities.  Vietnam does have a state lottery, which is open to its citizens, but this doesn’t appear to have been sufficient to sate the population’s thirst for gambling.  The government has sought to curb this with deterrents such as heavy fines and even prison sentences for those caught running illegal gambling dens or online casinos.  It hasn’t been opposed to controlling internet access to gambling sites either, with it blocking nearly 200 foreign sites in 2012.  Individuals have resorted to using VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) and other technically-savvy methods of circumnavigating ISP blocks, and it does seem that the government is slowly warming to the idea of legalising gambling – within reason.


The Hanoi’s Finance Ministry has reportedly indicated that betting on certain sports, such as football may get the green light as early as 2016; with proceeds likely to be funnelled into sports development programmes.   It seems that as Vietnam looks to its neighbours, like Singapore and Macau, its staunch Communist position against capitalist gambling is weakening.  And it’s hardly surprising given the obvious economic benefits to allowing a regulated casino industry.  Importantly for Vietnamese citizens, if sports betting is legalised, it’s a foot in the doorway for gambling operators – and heralds a possible relaxation of existing laws banning gambling.


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