The Hanoitimes - Vietnam`s National Assembly approved the revised Law on Physical Training and Sports, which now allows local to wager on a variety of sports events.
The revised law was legalized following the endorsement from 93.84% of National Assembly deputies in a voting on June 14, and is set to come into effect in 2019.
Following the law, gambling firms are now permitted to operate in Vietnam on the condition of having license from competent authority. Bookmakers are allowed to take bets on selected events approved by the government, of which only the local currency is used.
Sports betting was considered illegal in Vietnam, which led to many locals to turn to international gambling websites. The Illegal betting market in Vietnam is estimated to be worth US$1 - US$1.5 billion on an annual basis, according to local media.
The move now is seen as the government's effort to prevent money from flowing out of the country.
The government approved Decree No.06 last March that allows citizens to bet on specific sports, such as international football matches, horse and greyhound races. Additionally, locals must be over 21 years of age, having an account with a licensed bookmaking company, and a wager limit of VND1 million (US$44) per day.
Only a betting company will be selected to take bets on international football matches during a five-year pilot program, according to the Decree. The company must have charter capital of at least VND1 trillion (US$44.2 million).
Currently, Vietnam only allows locals to bet on football matches recognized by the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA), which include the World Cup, the Confederations Cup, Copa America, Champions League, Europa League, Asian Games, Southeast Asian Games, and matches without Vietnamese team participation.
Notably, the National Assembly's decision on sports betting coincided with the start of the World Cup 2018 being held in Russia. However, Vietnamese citizens are not allowed to bet on those matches, due to the unavailability of a licensed betting company at the moment.