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Mar 03, 2024 / 19:36

Bidding required for int’t football betting business in Vietnam

The estimated annual turnover of the illegal football betting market in Vietnam is in the tens of billions of USD.

The international football betting business project will be required to conduct a bidding process to select investors, according to a recently issued government decree.

 Vietnam is considering allowing international football betting in the country. Source: Sky

Decree 23/2024 issued by the Government outlines the necessity of conducting bidding processes to select investors in accordance with the Bidding Law.

As per this decree, investors must participate in a bidding process if they intend to operate international football betting activities in Vietnam. In addition, projects related to investment in horse and dog racing, including betting activities, are also subject to bidding when two or more investors express interest.

This regulation is reiterated in Decree 06, which addresses the business of betting on horse racing, dog racing, and international football, issued in 2017. At that time, the government allowed a pilot business to operate international football betting through a bidding process.

As of now, no business has been granted permission to pilot such ventures. Last year, a representative of a lottery business stated in their development strategy until 2025 that they plan to launch international football betting activities in compliance with the law.

Towards the end of 2021, the Ministry of Finance proposed amendments to Decree 06, introducing new points such as permitting betting on European national football championships and allowing players to purchase betting tickets online.

During that period, the Ministry of Finance also submitted to the government proposed changes to two conditions for investors. First, investors must have a minimum capital investment of VND1 trillion (US$40.5 million), with the ownership ratio of all foreign investors not exceeding 50%. Additionally, companies must commit to contributing to the state budget a minimum of 5% of betting revenue in cash (excluding taxes).

However, this new decree has yet to be issued, which poses a challenge to the regulators in selecting pilot businesses.

Every year, law enforcement agencies uncover and prosecute illegal football betting rings that bet billions of Vietnamese dong on football matches around the world. Advertisements for online betting websites with names such as FB88, Fi88, Bet88, and others, flood the internet.

The illegal football betting market in Vietnam is estimated to be worth tens of billions of USD a year, yet the state struggles to control the flow of money and collect taxes.

Many foreign investors have expressed interest in the international football betting business in Vietnam. Several countries around the world have legalized this form of betting.

Analysts suggest that to attract investors in the betting sector, the Government needs a stringent and appropriate regulatory framework. This would provide citizens with a legal rather than an illegal option for their pastimes. In turn, the state budget would benefit from tax and fee revenue from betting activities.