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Vietnam may allow football betting … with $45 daily limit

The finance ministry is seeking the government’s approval to legalize sports betting under a plan that has however been slammed by critics for keeping the maximum stake too low.

Nguyen Hoang Hai, deputy chair of the Vietnam Association of Financial Investors, said he is disappointed the ministry has stuck to proposals made in a 2010 draft.

“No one will bet within the proposed limit of VND1 million (US$ 45) a day. Or they will have others to bet for them.

“Betting should be either banned or legalized. But it should not be half allowed like this.”

A finance ministry official, who asked to remain unnamed, told Thanh Nien Sunday that the ministry would submit the proposal to the government this month.

It seeks to legalize betting on certain international football matches to be decided by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, and people can bet on the scores, number of red and yellow card, etc.

The 2010 draft had proposed legalizing betting on both domestic and international football games.

The official said about the new proposal: “The regulation aims at keeping a careful eye on gamblers and step-by-step development to avoid regrettable consequences.”

The draft excludes people under 18, those with mental or civilian incompetency and illegal immigrants.

Meager amount

The low ceiling has been panned, with critics saying it would not help stop illegal gambling.

A former chairman of the National Assembly’s Legal Committee, Nguyen Van Hien, said: “A drinking table can cost several million dong. People will still bet illegally on international networks due to the low betting limit.”

Nguyen Hanh Phuc, the NA general secretary, said only poor people would gamble under the proposed rule.

“Rich people and big gamblers will still bet illegally.”

Le Dang Doanh, former director of the Central Institute for Economic Management, said the draft plan would fail to achieve its target of preventing illegal betting.

Police busted many rings involved in betting trillions of dong during the recent Euro, including one in Hai Phong that organized gambling of up to VND7.6 trillion, he said.

“The underground betting amount is huge. The low limit will be unable to attract money from gamblers.”

Ngo Tri Long, former director of the Prices Management Institute, said relevant agencies should not have taken nearly a decade to consider legalization of sports betting, which is allowed in 130 countries and territories.

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Business | Thanh Nien Daily

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