Gambling in Vietnam is changing faster than ever before. With new laws, options for both the local and foreign gambler aficionado are increasing every year.
Gambling in Vietnam has been a source of ambiguity for many years since it was outlawed in 1975 by the communist party. Despite the strict regulations in place that make it illegal for locals to win or lose money, exceptions have been made from foreign passport holder casinos to races that are allowed for anyone as long as you have the permission from your family. With illicit and underground gambling operations in Vietnam generating billions in US dollars, the government wants to undoubtedly tap into new sources of revenue.
Vietnam currently has eight casinos which are for foreign passport holders only. Baccarat features heavily at the casinos here; an Asian casino favorite. In 2018, the government announced plans to allow two casinos to participate in a three year trial to allow locals in through their doors. The regulations are strict, demanding that participating locals must have a certain amount of monthly income, must pay a daily casino fee, and in some cases have the expressed written consent of their family. The loosening of restrictions has been designed to entice more foreign investment into the casino industry of Vietnam. While Vietnam probably won’t be competitive with Macau or Vegas anytime soon, don’t be surprised if you see an uptick in the number of casino resorts the country has to offer.
The first poker clubs allowing locals and foreigners alike were opened in 2017. Spearheading this has been the WIN Bridge & Poker Club. With branches, in Hanoi, Saigon, Vinh and Da Nang, you’ll find plenty of tournaments to join. Smaller clubs such as Diamond Bridge & Poker Club have opened branches in Hai Phong and Vinh City. While you won’t find any cash games (they are still illegal), many of these clubs have tournaments running several times a day with pots as high as 20 million VND.
The Saigon Racing Club is Vietnam’s premier Horse Racing track and dates back to 1893. It was closed briefly between 1975 after Saigon’s liberation until 1989 when the communist party reopened the track. Since then they have races have run their regularly every Saturday and Sunday. While maybe not such a high brow affair when compared to tracks such as in Hong Kong, the locally bred ponies are a source of some good fun and betting. In 2004 around 40 thoroughbreds were introduced however due to the low revenue from gambling it has not been sustainable. Despite this betting terminals are in full operation on the grounds. Supported bet types include: Win, Place, Exacta, Quinella, Trifecta, Quartet and many more.
Recently a 500 million USD investment was announced to open a brand new racino in Ho Chi Minh City. The project won’t be complete until 2021 so until then the Saigon Racing Club will have to do.
Dog Racing Vung Tau
Vung Tau’s Lam Son Stadium has been putting on greyhound races every Saturday night for over 20 years. A 12 race card with the first race at 19:15 will provide you a nice night out at the track. The atmosphere here is very family friendly and many people will come just to watch the races. That being said gambling is rife here and the technically the only type of gambling that is legal in Vietnam. Minimum wager is 20.000 VND. With no fixed odds, placing high wagers will not be very lucrative as they will decrease based on the size of the bet.
You may have seen people selling these multicolored tickets on busy city streets. These are lottery tickets and the sellers usually make a small profit of a few cents. Tickets cost VND 10.000 and and the drawings are run by each of the 63 provincial governments. The ticket sellers will also have the results of the previous drawings on a sheet of paper so you can check if you’ve won. Lottery sales in Vietnam have soared over recent years with an estimated 13 billion USD in revenue. Outside traditional state run lottery firms, Vietlott has opened up online lottery ticket sales, but we believe it’s nice to support the local ticket sellers as often it’s their only source of income.
In June of 2018 the government announced a controversial plan to legalize sports betting. With an estimated 800 Million US Dollars leaving the country every year by way of online sports betting, the new plan is intended to keep some of the money within Vietnamese borders. Despite the law having already been passed, international bookmakers have been struggling to get gaming licenses in Vietnam due to the strict approval process. 2019 should see the first bookmakers in Vietnam allowing locals and foreigners to bet on a range of pre approved international Football matches with other sports likely to follow and the conclusion of a trial process.