VietNamNet Bridge – The Ministry of Finance has decided to legalise football betting for two reasons. First, it wants have control over football betting, which - despite the ban - has been carried out on a massive scale . Second, the legalization will allow the state to collect tax from the services.
Legalization of football betting reconsidered
Recognising is better than prohibiting
There are no statistics on football betting activities, which have been considered illegal in Vietnam, but every Vietnamese would say he or she hears about it every day.
Nguyen Anh Phuong, who was once in charge of reporting international football matches on mobile phones for a company in Hanoi, said that football betting, like in many other countries in the world, is very popular in Vietnam. The only difference between the activities in Vietnam and in the world is that the activities in Vietnam are considered illegal.
“Vietnamese people love football, and for many predicting the results of the matches is their hobby ,” Phuong said, explaining why football betting is still popular in Vietnam, despite the ban.
As football betting activities have been going underground, this has had bad consequences.
According to Phuong, in June and July 2010, during the World Cup 2010 , pawnshops were flooding with valuable assets at surprisingly low prices, from mobile phones, laptops to luxurious cars,. This was because Vietnamese people pawned their valuables to get cash for football betting. As they lost, they also lost the assets to the pawnshops.
According to Phuong, while rich people in urban areas pawned their valuable assets such as laptops or cars, poor people in rural areas pawned their land plots which they inherited from parents or grandparents. The people were so fond of gambling that they even bet all their assets. Therefore, the people would become penniless once they lost the bet.
Meanwhile, officials from the Ministry of Finance believe that if football betting is put under control, this will help prevent social evils, and no farmer will lose land, their most important asset. The ministry has decided that the minimal bet is 10,000 dong ($0.5) and the maximal bet is 1 million dong ($50) a day.
Once football betting legalized, money will go to the state budget
It is clear that the demand for football betting in Vietnam is very high. That explains why Vietnamese people not only join domestic betting activities, but also access international betting websites which they can easily find by searching on Google. The well-known websites sbobet, ibet888.net, asianbookie have the advertisement banners in Vietnamese to attract Vietnamese bettors.
It is not by chance that a lot of foreign bankers want to set up businesses in Vietnam. At this moment, they are trying to exploit the Vietnamese market which they believe to be very lucrative.
According to the Ministry of Public Security, for the last 60 football matches in the 2010 World Cup, it is estimated that 50,000-70,000 visitors who accessed foreign betting websites, were from Vietnam. The value of their betting activities might reach tens million dollar.
It is clear that by prohibiting football betting, the state fails to collect a huge sum of money in tax. Though the state cannot collect the money, it still has to spend money to settle the social problems caused by football betting.
Football betting will develop at reasonable level
According to Nguyen Thanh Dam, a senior official from the Ministry of Finance, who is in charge of compiling the legal document regulating football betting, said that it will be designed in a way that allows the betting to develop only to a reasonable level.
According to the draft decree, betting business will be strictly controlled by the State. Only firms that meet certain conditions will be licensed to provide the service.