Do you have a foreign passport and proof that you earn more than US$400 per month? If so, you can legally play at Vietnam’s eight luxurious casinos—Grand Ho Tram Resort Casino Vietnam, Club Royale Casino, Palazzo Club Casino, Macau Gaming Club, Caesar Palace Casino, Do Son Casino Resort, Charlie One Casino Club, and Club Vegas Casino.
What should you do if you are a local longing for a spin of the reels? You have to either travel all the way to neighbouring Cambodia or sign up at an offshore online casino that accepts Vietnamese players.
- Vietnam hasn’t legalized several forms of gambling.
- Vietnam has eight grand casinos that accept only holders of foreign passports.
- Locals can legally play the state-run lottery game.
- Also, betting on international football games, greyhound racing, and horse racing is legal, provided you are 21 years old and place bets in the range of 1000 – 1,000,000 dongs per day.
- Wealthy Vietnamese visit Cambodia whenever they feel the urge to gamble.
Gambling in Vietnam – Latest Facts & Figures
- Gambling is banned in Vietnam, but this does not prevent Vietnamese gamblers from grabbing any opportunity to gamble.
- Vietnam permits limited betting on its state-run lottery game, horse betting, and greyhound betting.
- Punters in Vietnam place bets worth millions of dollars during the football season.
- Vietnamese players placed bets worth $3 billion on legal lottery games in 2015.
- Residents of Vietnam love betting on fish fights and cockfights.
- The most popular gambling game in Vietnam is Bau Cau, which is played with three dice. The faces of each die display pictures of a fish, a rooster, a crab, a prawn, a stag, and a calabash gourd. Players bet on which pictures will appear after a roll the dice.
- Another traditional gambling game in Vietnam is Bau Cau Ca Cop, which even little children enjoy betting on.
Brief History of Gambling in Vietnam
Flip through the pages of Vietnam’s history and you will realize that Vietnam has never been a gambling friendly country even though the people of Vietnam have always been fond of gambling. Unfavourable gambling laws have never prevented them from placing bets on games of chance.
A travelogue dating back to the forties tells about how Vietnamese merchants who would keep bowls of dice in their stalls so that they could play with their loyal customers. Even Vietnamese housewives would play games of chance on their lucky days although they would lose their housekeeping money half of the time.
It didn’t take the government of Vietnam long to realize that the only way to control illegal gambling activities was to legalize, license, and regulate gambling. The government began by legalizing lottery games. But the only legal lottery game in Vietnam is the one that the government owns and operates.
Since Vietnam wasn’t providing legalized online gambling to its citizens, a number of unlicensed online casino operators started offering online sports betting and casino games to Vietnamese residents which quickly turned into a huge business.
The government of Vietnam was forced to crack down on illegal gambling outfits. For example, in 2017, it cracked down on an illegal betting business worth US$89 million. And in March 2018, it cracked down on an illegal gambling ring worth $420 million and penalized as many as 90 offenders, including senior government officials. A few months later, an individual got nine years in prison for operating an illegal online sports betting business worth US$26 million.
Despite the government’s ferocity in cracking down on illegal gambling outfits, the country’s underground gambling businesses continue to thrive. Illegal gambling in Vietnam is believed to be worth several billions of dollars.
Casinos became legal in Vietnam in 2017. Today, Vietnam has eight grand brick-and-mortar casinos, but locals cannot play at any of them. These casinos accept only holders of foreign passports who can prove that their monthly income exceeds US$450 and pay a hefty entry tax.
However, the government launched a 3-year experiment recently, as part of which it permits locals to play at casinos if they can prove that they earn more than US$449 or 10 million dong per month. Local players have to pay an entry tax of one million dongs and need to be at least 21 years old. They can enter a casino only if they don’t have a criminal record. Also, their families should have no objections to them playing at a casino.
The following year, Vietnam legalized sports betting, enabling sports-crazy Vietnamese bettors to place bets on greyhound races, horse races, and international football matches. But you need to be at least 21 years old to bet on sports. Betting is also restricted to a minimum of 1000 dongs to a maximum of one million dongs per day.
Gambling Restrictions in Vietnam – Frustrating for Locals
Currently, the government of Vietnam is very serious about giving residents restricted access to gambling. Far from protecting residents from gambling harm, Vietnam’s restrictive gambling laws are frustrating the locals and forcing them to turn to illegal gambling establishments.
Although illegal gambling businesses are worth billions of dollars in Vietnam, running an illegal gambling business and accepting bets from locals is a punishable offense. Operators of illegal casinos in Vietnam get prison terms of up to two years. If the operator is connected to organized crime rings or loan sharks, the prison term can go up to ten years. If caught playing at an illegal casino in Vietnam, you will have to pay a hefty fine. Still, this doesn’t stop locals from going underground whenever they want to place a bet.
Vietnam’s gambling policies have also found their way into its foreign policy, straining its relationship with neighbouring Cambodia. The borders of Cambodia are dotted with glittering casinos, which attract a large number of wealthy Vietnamese players. Cambodia, just like Vietnam, permits foreigners into its casinos, but not locals. As many as 3,600 Vietnamese players cross the borders and visit Cambodia just to play at these casinos.
One of the main reasons why Vietnam is not keen to allow its locals full access to gambling is because of the concerns regarding problem gambling. Vietnam does not want to foster a gambling addiction in the country anytime soon as it does not have the resources no infrastructure to do with problem gambling as of now.
Playing at Online Casinos in Vietnam
Vietnam has no laws to prevent residents from signing up at offshore online casinos, but its law-enforcement agencies have blocked as many as 200 offshore gambling sites. This has forced locals to use VPN services to access their favourite online casinos. Despite Vietnam’s unfriendly attitude to online casinos, residents continue to sign up at offshore online casinos that accept them.
Vietnam May Become a Major Gambling Destination in Asia
Does gambling have a bright future in Vietnam? If the government changes its gambling policies, permits locals to visit land-based casinos, and legalizes online casinos, gambling has a bright future in Vietnam. The country has the potential to become a major gambling destination in Asia.
Have a look at all the advantages Vietnam has:
- Many international gambling companies are interested in establishing casinos in the country.
- Vietnamese residents are fond of gambling. The country’s restrictive gambling laws are now forcing locals to spend their money either on illegal gambling outfits at home or in the casinos of Cambodia.
- If Vietnam changes its laws to permit locals to gamble at local casinos, its legalized gambling industry will thrive.
- Vietnam has a pleasant tropical climate, plenty of sight-seeing for tourists, and a coastline that stretches up to 3,400kms. Favourable gambling laws can easily convert it into a major gambling destination.
Vietnam Gambling Laws FAQs
Are online casinos legal in Vietnam?
Online gambling is illegal in Vietnam. The country does not authorize and license any company or individual to offer online casino gaming services to residents. In the absence of licensed online casinos in their country, residents turn to offshore online casinos that accept them.
What is the legal age to gamble in Vietnam?
The legal age to gamble in Vietnam is 21. But you have to be at least 18 years old to sign up at an offshore online casino. Licensed online casinos conduct appropriate age verification checks to control underage gambling.
Are Vietnamese players eligible to claim bonuses and rewards at online casinos?
Yes, there is nothing to stop a Vietnamese player from claiming bonus offers, participating in promotions and tournaments, and earning rewards for loyalty at online casinos.
In fact, online casinos accepting Vietnamese players offer a variety of bonuses such as no-deposit bonuses, welcome bonus packages, first deposit bonuses, reload bonuses, cashback bonuses, loyalty bonuses, and many more.
Why should I make sure that the online casino is licensed?
You must make sure that an online casino is licensed in reputed gambling jurisdictions such as Gibraltar, Kahnawake, Isle of Man, and others before signing up.
This is because playing unlicensed online casinos is dangerous. Since they are not licensed in Vietnam, you cannot expect the Vietnamese government to help you if you get cheated at an unlicensed casino.
Since they are not answerable to any regulatory authority, unlicensed online casinos offer poor customer support, run on pirated software, offer bonuses with unreasonable terms, and withhold your winnings for no reason. Worse still, they may pull down their shutters without a warning and disappear with your deposits.
Q5: Are casino winnings taxed in Vietnam?
Yes, you have to pay a 10% tax on casino winnings exceeding 10 million dongs.