Vietnam is home to a very large, very active and very illegal gambling economy. There’s no doubt we love to gamble in Vietnam and bet on sports, but current laws require certain measures to keep it all out of sight and out of mind. For this reason, all the best Vietnamese casino sites are headquartered overseas and out of reach of local authorities.
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Each of the best Vietnamese online casinos has its own unique qualities, but the one thing they all share is they are trusted by people around the world. In fact, every online casino you see on this page holds at least one license issued by a government regulator in its home country. The Vietnamese government may not approve of online gambling, but that has no bearing on casino sites located in gambling-friendly nations.
You will also find that signing up and making a deposit is made easier by sites hat have a true understanding of the Vietnamese market. Some of the most popular deposit methods for online casino games include Visa, Neteller, Skrill, Paysafecard, Entropay and bank wire.
How Gambling Works in Vietnam
Despite the anti-gambling laws that prohibit practically everything except the state-authorized lottery, many people still gamble in Vietnam today. Some of that gambling still takes place in the real world, but a growing number of people are visiting online casinos in Vietnam to avoid the risks involved in meeting with other gamblers face-to-face.
In many instances, gamblers in Vietnam place their bets online at foreign websites but then meet with a local agent to settle all debts or receive their winnings. This system works well on a cash basis, but it is becoming easier and easier to play, deposit and get paid all online without ever having to meet someone in person to square up (not to mention having to deal with questionable debt collectors).
Online Vietnamese casinos offer the most safety from a legal standpoint. Vietnamese authorities routinely crackdown on local, underground casinos. In early 2016, Ba Ria-Vung Tau police raided a secretive casino being hosted in a local hotel, arrested 70 people and seized VND 1.2 billion. The risk of being involved in a raid when gambling in-person is very real. That same risk is decreased dramatically when all one has to do is log on via the internet from the privacy of home.
While we cannot promise there is no legal risk in visiting Vietnamese casino sites hosted in other countries, many people do choose to play online every day. Online sports betting and casino games remain popular to this day, with
There are signs that things could change in the future. Al Jazeera reports that international gambling operators have been lobbying for a change in Vietnamese law that would allow locals to visit physical casinos in Vietnam. Currently, all land-based casinos in Vietnam are restricted to tourists only.
Evidence of the pent-up demand for gambling in Vietnam can be found in one estimate that posits the country misses out on upwards of $800 million per year in tax revenue from locals who travel to Cambodia to visit brick-and-mortar casinos there. When you start throwing around numbers that big, even the most hardline anti-gambling politicians sit up and take notice.
Although legalizing the brick-and-mortar casino industry would have no immediate impact on internet casinos in Vietnam, it would be an important step in the right direction. As a population grows more comfortable with one form of legal gambling, the odds of legalizing online gambling grow.
Vietnamese Casinos and the Law
The Vietnamese penal code describes offenses for both participation in and organization of gambling. Article 248 stipulates a punishment of between VND 5 million and VND 50 million, non-custodial reform for up to three years or between three months and three years of imprisonment.
However, if one of the following circumstances applies, the punishment is increased to between two years and seven years of imprisonment:
- The player participates in gambling in a professional manner
- The money or kind used in gambling are of “very great” or “particularly great” value
- The offense constitutes “dangerous recidivism”
Article 249 details the punishment for organizing an illegal gambling operation. Anyone caught running an underground gambling den faces a fine of between VND 10 million and VND 300 million or between one year and five years of imprisonment.
That punishment increases to an automatic prison sentence of between three years and ten years if any of the following circumstances applies to the crime:
- The gambling operation is run as a professional endeavor
- The gambling operation obtains “large, very large or particularly large” profits
- The offense constitutes “dangerous recidivism”
As we can see from our discussion so far, not even the harsh penalties for gambling-related offenses have had much effect in ridding Vietnam of online gambling. Vietnamese casino sites are more popular than ever today.
The government has even attempted to institute internet censorship of known casino websites in Vietnam to little effect. It seems that the Vietnamese appetite for gambling is too strong for even harsh punishments and internet censorship to have much impact.
Wes Burns co-founded OnlineCasinoSites.com with a mission to help gamblers understand and navigate the regulated online casino market in all countries around the world. Wes is a respected gambling journalist, working in the industry since 2008.