Gambling has been illegal since the 1940’s in Vietnam, with the only legally sanctioned gambling being tied to the statewide lottery system. This was consistent until the end of the 20th century.
In an attempt to end some of the various huge illegal gambling rings that were still running in Vietnam, the government began to legalize certain forms of gambling. This was a move to push out the illegal gambling rings by making certain types of games legal.
Vietnam legalized locally run games of chance in 2017 and has more than 8 casinos open for foreigners. Local Vietnamese are only allowed to enter the casinos if they can show a monthly income exceeding a certain level. This is done to combat casinos taking advantage of the poor Vietnamese population.
Sports betting with government control was legalized in 2018.
There is still a country-wide ban on online gambling by the Vietnamese government, but with much confusion about if you can actually gamble online or not. The country sanctions horse racing and lotto games on a physical basis – you can only gamble at select locations and racetracks.
The ban on online gambling keeps investors, foreigners and locals from launching online casinos in-country, leaving Vietnamese who wish to gamble at home forced to do it illegally, relying on online casino sites and sportsbooks that are tailored to Vietnamese but hosted outside the country by foreign companies.
Online slots providers do show a good amount of traffic and users coming in from Vietnam and other parts of Asia. There is a massive population base in Asia of course, the culture in general does tend to accept physical in-person gambling, and a huge amount of the population has everyday access to the Internet at home. The situation is parallel to trends other countries see in their online gambling – for example in Korea providers like BettingGround tell our reporters very similar facts about their budding industry.
Most black market Vietnamese gamblers at home are safe. The government currently only seriously looks for illegal casinos and gambling operations that are fully operating secretly on an illegal basis. The government does not have the resources to monitor or pursue individuals at home for online gambling. If you think about it, the slots providers are not in-country and can’t really be pursued by the government. It is simply not worth anyone’s resources.
The situation is similar to Nigeria, who has different laws but went on a legalization initiative before Vietnam. They are more progressive than Vietnam and have a large growing online betting industry.
PricewaterhouseCoopers, a major accounting and auditing firm, reported in 2018, that Nigeria was the second largest online betting market in Africa, with total gaming revenue of $58 million that year.
South Africa remains the continent’s largest market, with a total GGR gambling industry of around $2 billion and 54% internet penetration. Although online gambling is technically illegal in South Africa, companies can offer online betting services if you obtain a local license. In Nigeria, regardless of international accreditation, operators still need local approval to operate in the Nigerian market.
According to some analysis, the Nigerian population spends around $5.5 million per day on sports betting, with the average bet between $7 and $8. Some speculate that the annual turnover of the bookmaker could be around $1.9-2 billion. For comparison, the gross gambling revenue (GGY) in Great Britain was $19 billion in 2018, with more than 36.6 million online accounts at licensed UKGC sites contributing to this figure.