Government approves horse, dog racing gambling

The Government has issued a long-awaited decree allowing Vietnamese citizens to bet on international football matches and on horse and dog races in Vietnam.

The perpective of the 1.5 billion USD horse racing course complex developed by South Korea G.O.Max I&D in the northern Phu Tho province (Photo: doanhnhanvietnam.org.vn)

This follows a decree issued last month by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc lifting the ban on gambling by Vietnamese at local casinos.

The new decree is expected to pave the way for foreign and domestic investment in race courses and other gambling activities.

Under the decree issued last week, each gambler can place a wager with an authorised betting firm for a maximum of 1 million VND (44 USD) and a minimum of 10,000 VND for each betting product per day.

The football wagers will be limited to matches that have the approval of international football overseers FIFA. The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism will issue the list of eligible international football matches for betting.

The punters must be at least 21 years old and Vietnamese dong must be used to purchase betting tickets and pay awards, said the decree.

According to the decree, the minimum investment capital for horse racing and football betting businesses will be 1 trillion VND each, and for dog racing will be 300 billion VND.

The legalisation has been discussed for years. In 2010, the Ministry of Finance began formulating a draft decree, but sought to first learn from the experience of other countries to ensure that the wagers would not affect social order and safety.

In Vietnam, betting is a conditional business activity, meaning that it is not encouraged and is under the strict control of State management agencies. Only enterprises with betting licences are allowed to sell gambling tickets.

The decree requires bettors to wager via authorised retail betting agencies, which can’t be located within 500 meters of a school or children’s park. The new decree also regulates punishment for administrative infringements on horse and dog racing and international football gambling in Vietnam.

Betting must be conducted in a transparent and subjective manner and protect the rights and benefits of relevant sides. 

The punishment levels from 5 million VND to 10 million VND will be given to the betting agencies which supply insufficient and inaccurate information for customers. The violation on money laundering will be fined from 50 million VND to 100 million VND, even being revoked business licence from three to six months.

As for violations to betting promotions, the firms can be fined from 180 million VND to 200 million VND or revoked business licence from six to 12 months.

The new decree is expected to lure additional Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to Vietnam. The Hanoi Tourist Corporation, for example, is seeking to build a horse racing track in the capital’s suburban district of Soc Son. The track will cover up to 180 hectares with an investment of 500 million USD.

The Republic of Korea’s G.O Max wants to build a 570 million USD racecourse in northern Vinh Phuc Province. Other companies include Golden Turf Club Pty Ltd, with a 100-million USD project in southern Phu Yen province and Hong Kong’s Matrix Holdings Ltd with a planned horserace centre in Da Nang city.

The domestic Dai Nam Group JSC recently said it would open a racecourse costing 100 million USD in the southern province of Binh Duong. Construction of the racecourse, spanning 60ha, at the tourism park in the province 40km from inner HCM City, started last July. It includes a 30ha parking lot and a grandstand that can accommodate 50,000 to 60,000 people.

Source: Vietnamplus

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