Gambling in Vietnam was completely outlawed by the communist regime, as it was regarded as an unacceptable capitalist pursuit. From the nineties, the restrictions loosened up, but they are very strict even up to this date.
In Vietnam, you can actually get a prison sentence of between 2 and 7 years* if you loose or win more than 50 million vietnamese dongs (approx. 2000 USD) and operators also face harsh punishments. Hefty fines are imposed on smaller-scale gamblers as well.
However, that doesn’t stop illegal operators from running gambling and sports betting businesses in the country. And it doesn’t stop a growing number of Vietnamese people either, from gambling and wagering online and in illegal, underground facilities.
The only legal forms of gambling in Vietnam are:
- horse race betting on the state owned tracks in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City,
- greyhound race betting in the Lam Son Stadium in Vung Tau,
- and the Vietnam Lottery (actually, 3 separate lotteries, which were made legal in 1999 and are state monopolies ever since).
Although it is practically illegal and the country has an internet censoring system in place as well, online betting and other forms of online gambling in Vietnam are very wide spread, mostly through VPN networks. Sports betting, mainly on football is the most popular, by far.
*Source: Vietnamese Penal Code – Gambling
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- Casino gambling in Vietnam
- Bingo in Vietnam
- Poker in Vietnam
- Sports Betting in Vietnam
- Lottery in Vietnam
- Bitcoin Gambling in Vietnam
- Online gambling websites accepting players from Vietnam
Casino gambling in Vietnam
Online casino gambling in Vietnam: illegal, some sites are blocked, legal for tourists
Vietnam has plenty of brick-and-mortar casinos, mostly operated by foreign firms. Ho Chi Minh City is the biggest casino hub of the country, with ten facilities.
There is no casino in Vietnam, however, that would accept locals. Due to the prohibition, people are only allowed to play in these in possession of a foreign passport.
Many of the Vietnamese venture across the border to try their luck in one of the Cambodian casinos located in Bavet, which is just about an hour drive from Ho Chi Minh City*.
Playing in an online casino in Vietnam is also prohibited by law, with many of the foreign sites being blocked by the internet censoring system of the government.
However, many sites that operate under a legit license from an other country support the Vietnamese language and also accept transfers from local banks, like DongA Bank and VietinBank. Asian sport betting sites, generally referred to as Asian Bookies are popular examples.
Playing in online casinos in Vietnam is shady business, but nevertheless feasible, and for better or worse, popular.
Bingo in Vietnam
Online Bingo in Vietnam: illegal, some sites are blocked
Bingo is a form of gambling and therefore is illegal in Vietnam if played as a real money game. The traditional Bingo is not very wide-spread anyway.
There is a game, however, called Vietnamese Bingo (Bai choi) which is a very popular traditional street game, but it is not offered by any online platform, as it is more a part of the folk culture than a branch of the gambling industry.
Poker in Vietnam
Online Poker in Vietnam: illegal, some sites are blocked
Gambling in Vietnam is illegal, and the same applies to Poker too. Although many of the casinos in Vietnam run Poker tables, Vietnamese residents are restricted from playing in any of these.
Online poker is – in theory – illegal too and some sites are also blocked by ISPs and the government. Some of the big poker sites do have Vietnam on their ‘don’t-market-to list’ but not on their actual restricted list.
So players that circumvent the censorship system somehow – by VPN or else – can play at their own risk.
Sports Betting in Vietnam
Online sports Betting in Vietnam: illegal, some sites are blocked
Sports betting is illegal in Vietnam. The only exceptions are the horse racing tracks in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City and the greyhound track in the Lam Son Stadium in Vung Tau.
All of the above are operated by foreign firms that have direct contracts with the Vietnamese government. This makes sports betting basically a state monopoly and is restricted to these three tracks (literally, in space as well, as bets can only be placed on the races from inside the buildings).
Neither the ban nor the prospect of harsh penalties seem stop a growing portion of Vietnamese players from engaging in sports betting, mainly on European football.
Most of them place their bets with illegal, underground bookies or on foreign websites online.
In 2012, the then Finance Minister Vuong Dinh Hue suggested, that Vietnam should learn from Singapore’s example in setting up a legal and organisational framework for operating large-scale betting operations.
A system like this would be both a steady source of income for the state and an instrument to limit the social damage caused by underground gambling syndicates. To this date, no such measures were initiated by the Vietnamese government.
Lottery in Vietnam
Online lottery in Vietnam: legal, state monopoly status
Lottery in Vietnam is a state monopoly. The Vietnam Lottery was established in 1999 and there are three major lotteries that Vietnamese residents can participate in, the Southern Lottery, the Northern Lottery and the Central Vietnam Lottery.
Bitcoin Gambling in Vietnam
Bitcoin Gambling in Vietnam: no specific regulations, illegal
Bitcoin is not officially recognised as a currency by the Vietnamese state. Although they didn’t ban it, they discourage the use of the cryptocurrency in the country and prohibit major banks from making transactions using Bitcoin.
Online gambling is illegal in the country and Bitcoin gambling is no different. However, many players still gamble on foreign platforms and using a Bitcoin casino doesn’t involve any extra risks for them.
Online gambling websites accepting players from Vietnam
Even though online gambling is illegal in Vietnam, many of the offshore operators holding a license in countries where online gambling is legal do accept players from the country.
The following online gambling websites accept players from Vietnam.
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Last updated: 2015.10. 09