Vietnam passes bill to allow betting on approved sports events

The Vietnamese government has passed a new law that allows locals to bet on government-approved sports events, local media reports.

Named the Law on Sports and Physical Training, the new law is said to be based on the 2017 government decree that allows locals to bet on select international football games and horse and greyhound races, which came into effect March 31, 2017.

Under the new law, betting will be allowed for sports events when the government  approves a decree proposed by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

However, while football betting has been legalized since March 2017, no actual betting has taken place yet.

There are currently no betting companies authorized to provide betting services in the country. A lack of agreement between relevant ministries on how to organize the bidding process has been a main factor.

However, the lack of betting options has also played a hand in this. Currently, Vietnam allows only betting on international football matches recognized by FIFA and approved by the sports ministry. This includes the World Cup, the Confederations Cup, Copa America, Champions League and Europa League, short tournaments that are few and far between.

One economist, Nguyen Tri Hieu said that bookmakers would suffer heavy losses if they were to only offer betting on FIFA recognized tournaments.

457 deputies voted to approve the Thursday bill, accounting for 94.5 percent of those present in the assembly hall. The law goes into effect on January 1, 2019.