This April the number of solved illegal gambling cases in Vietnam has surged. Here’s what’s known about it and how this can affect South African gambling.

State of gambling in Vietnam

Vietnam is a difficult country for gamblers. Gambling is prevalent in the country. However, it’s not legal.

The country doesn’t allow any form of gambling except the National Lottery. Even sports betting is illegal there unlike in South Africa. The government is afraid that its people are going to gamble all their money away.

However, the authorities don’t want to pass up on the sweet gambling money either. Gambling is permitted for foreigners.

There are 8 legal casinos that are staffed by Vietnamese, but only foreigners can gamble there. It surely gathers a lot of money for the government, but it’s unfair for the locals. You can work at a casino, but you can’t play there.

While Vietnamese can bet at foreign online casinos, they can’t do it on their own land. The only exception is horse betting at a couple of licensed bookies.

Recently, the authorities allowed betting at one of the casinos for foreigners. Any Vietnamese who wants to play has to prove they have a monthly income of over $500. The entrance fee is $50, a tenth of the monthly income.

Other than that, the Vietnamese government is very strict with gamblers. The penalties range from administrative fines to incarceration.

The illegal gambling ring busted

The authorities are harsh on illegal gambling. Previously, they found out that there’s a $422 million gambling ring in the country. was widely advertised on the web and catered to locals instead of foreigners.

The scheme involved altcoins that were bought for real money and used to place bets on the website. This innovative online gambling real money operation was busted last year, and millions of dollars worth of electronic funds and property were seized.

This April, the authorities have caught 22 more people who were involved in the case. This list includes the very man responsible for the investigation of the ring. The 49-year-old chief inspector reported there is no violation when he was tasked with uncovering the operation.

Now, there’s evidence he was paid quite a sum to make that claim and cover the illegal gambling website. His home was raided, but the government doesn’t speak up on the results yet.

Possibly, he’s facing a lot of jail time. Out of 90 people who were caught red-handed during the last year only half walked away with fines and probation. The rest will go to jail.

A dangerous example

Vietnam is a young democracy with a communist past, much like South Africa is. There’s a lot to learn from this country. However, if our government chooses to learn the wrong lesson, South African gamblers can be in danger.

We should follow their successful path of open market reforms, not the authoritarian approach to gambling.

South Africa outlaws online gambling, and recently it was all but supportive to those who break the law. The sheer amount of Rands confiscated from South African gamblers shows they’re not kidding.