Vietnam intends to expand the product range of its proposed legal football betting market in a bid to convince local punters that the government-approved operation will not be a total waste of time.

In 2017, the country approved a plan for a 5-year trial of legal wagering on football, dog racing and horseracing, with football limited to international games overseen by global governing body FIFA. Since FIFA competitions only take place every few years, this left major gaps in Vietnam’s legal betting calendar, leading the state to propose adding other leading football events in 2018.

This week, local media reported that the Ministry of Finance was again thinking about adding more major football fixtures to its list of approved betting options, including the English Premier League, Spanish La Liga, German Bundesliga, Italian Serie A and UEFA Champions League games.

The state is also considering gamblers to place bets over the smartphones and fund their betting through e-wallets and prepaid phone cards. At the moment, the plan would allow punters to bet only at gambling terminals in retail outlets through direct bank transfers.

The government additionally looks willing to fiddle with the restriction capping individual bettors’ maximum daily wagering at VND1m (US$43). The Ministry of Finance is reportedly liaising with other state branches on whether to adjust the min and max allowable stakes.

The tough parameters of Vietnam’s proposed betting trial have yet to convince any bookmaker (local or international) to apply to run business in the country. In late May, the Ministry of Finance was forced to give a statement refuting a private company’s claim that it had been given a legal betting license by the country’s authorities.

Surveys have further indicated the Vietnamese public is largely willing to bet with a government-approved option, but only it’s not totally useless. Meanwhile, the country’s illegal sports betting market continues to thrive despite the state’s legalization attempts, partially because it has yet to embrace the idea of legal online betting.


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