Football the focus as Vietnam revises sports betting decree

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Vietnams Ministry of Finance has released details of a plan to add more global football events to those upon which its citizens are legally allowed to bet on.

According to state-run media outlet VietnamNet, the Ministry is in the process of revising a decree that will see 27 leagues and tournaments added to the list of permitted football events, including Europes major leagues, the Champions League and Europa League, AFC Cup and Copa America.

It would also allow for betting on matches in which Vietnam takes part, such as World Cup qualifiers, the Olympics, Asian Cup, AFC U-23 Championship and U-20 World Cup.

Under current rules, Vietnamese are only allowed to bet on overseas tournaments officially sanctioned by FIFA, meaning popular leagues such as the English Premier League and Spains La Liga are off limits

A rule setting the minimum bets on football matches, horse races and dog races at VND10,000 (US$0.44) and maximum at VND1 million (US$44) is expected to remain unchanged.

The proposed changes follow local media reports earlier this year blaming Vietnams stringent sports betting regulations for a rise in illegal football betting in recent weeks during the recent EURO 2020 championships in Europe and Copa America in Brazil. Illegal football betting is said to account for US$10 billion in annual turnover in Vietnam.

Sports betting was legalized in Vietnam in 2017 under a five-year pilot program, not dissimilar to a three-year pilot allowing locals to gamble in selected casinos, but the decree limited betting to football, horse racing and greyhound racing.

It also required minimum charter capital of VND1 trillion (US$43.5 million), ultimately failing to attract a single investor willing to test Vietnams legal sports betting waters.