Gambling is big business in Vietnam. But for the most part it’s a black market operation run by organized criminals and corrupt public officials.
In the Southeast Asian country of Vietnam the term “gambling” conjures a lot of images. The first is tourism. Vietnam has several gorgeous luxury casinos but because of Vietnamese gambling laws each is open only to holders of foreign passports; these tend to be Chinese business people and travelers.
Given that locals are kept out of casinos, gambling also brings up words like “illegal” and “organized crime.” Millions of Vietnamese crown into underground card rooms and betting shops, playing everything from paigow and bingo to wagering on World Cup matches and the Premier League.
Corruption and organized crime run gambling industry
Despite being illegal land-based and internet gambling in Vietnam run rampant because the criminal groups who run it bribe public officials and policeman to turn a blind eye. Those attempt to curb the activity haven’t had much success. Said one official: “After a few raids by police over the years, dealers have changed their tactics. They’ve became more sophisticated.”
On top of that, the authorities have had a hard time policing the online gambling industry, for example preventing underage users from accessing gambling and betting sites.
Online sportsbook Bodog Asia recently announced it would no longer serve customers located in Vietnam. While the reason is not yet known, some speculate that it is due to the lack of regulation over the industry.