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Setting Up an Online Casino in Vietnam: Overview of the Gambling Industry in 2023

May 18, 2023 Vietnam iGaming & Gambling

One of Asia’s most prospective markets is Vietnam. This nation has a lot to offer iGaming investors because to its robust and expanding economy and changing public perception of gaming.

There are many additional lucrative gaming markets in the Asia-Pacific area, despite the emphasis paid to large markets like China and India. Continue reading to find out more about the business opportunities in Vietnam.

Vietnam has (justifiably) become a huge tourist attraction thanks to its azure waters, white sand beaches, and magnificent highlands. However, one of the region’s most economically and technologically advanced countries lies beneath the picturesque image.

The economy of Vietnam is sound and expanding overall. According to the World Bank, the nation’s GDP reached $366.1 billion in 2021, with a GDP per person of $3756. With Vietnam moving forward in lockstep with its neighbors, this number should continue to rise given the region’s total anticipated growth.

In terms of internet penetration and mobile subscription rates, the nation is likewise progressing rapidly: the overall percentage of online users has increased from 54% in 2017 to 74% in 2022.

Significant changes in gambling attitudes have also been observed across Asia, particularly in Vietnam. Despite the fact that gambling has long been completely forbidden, authorities are beginning to change their stance, and the topic of legalization routinely comes up in official conversations (though full regulation is still unlikely to happen anytime soon).

Rules for land-based gaming

In Vietnam, gambling hasn’t always been frowned upon.

The gambling business wasn’t immediately shut down until the introduction of communist control in the second part of the 20th century in an effort to remove practices inspired by capitalism. All forms of gambling were outlawed and punished with steep penalties or, in the event of extremely high stakes, sentences of two to seven years in prison. The sole exception were the lottery games, which are always well-liked.

Up until recently, the sole legal form of gambling in Vietnam was limited to casinos that only welcomed visitors from other countries. These are mainly found in upmarket vacation destinations like The Grand Ho Tram Strip, Vietnam’s biggest casino resort. The Vietnamese government, however, seems to have started to favor industry regulation over combatting the black market, which grew (as usual) in the absence of a market that was controlled.

Approval of gambling

In 2017, authorities took a step toward industry regulation by implementing a pilot project that enabled locals to enter casinos that were only open to foreigners. Two casinos were designated as part of the project, and Vietnamese nationals were permitted to enter and gamble there with some limitations.

Players from Vietnam are required to be at least 21 years old, make $400 per month, and have a spotless criminal record. In order to track their gaming actions, they must also pay an admission charge and utilize an electronic card. Despite these challenges, the concept was so well received that Vietnamese players soon made up 65% of all visitors at these venues.

Despite the fact that the first trial program was supposed to end in early 2022, it appears that local gamblers are still being accepted into casinos. Additionally, according to media reports, the Ministry of Finance has suggested extending the initiative for two additional years and two additional casinos because the pandemic shutdown may have allowed the business to reach its full potential.

Land-based betting is another sector that received approval despite stringent limitations.

In 2017, a similar five-year pilot scheme like the one with casinos was launched, with equally stringent restrictions: bets could only be placed on FIFA-sanctioned tournaments and must not exceed $44. But ultimately, not a single betting company submitted an application to take part in the experiment. On the other hand, illegal betting returned during the last two World Cup events, generating more than $10 billion in annual turnover.

Perception of gambling

Vietnamese gambling history may help to explain why some players take matters into their own hands.

The Vietnamese have a strong desire for gambling despite the severe laws; it is part of their culture. On the Vietnamese New Year, a game called bu cua cá cp is customarily played at family gatherings. Since the game has been ingrained in Vietnamese culture for such a long time, its origins are nearly impossible to determine.

In East and Southeast Asia, it is customary practice to restrict access to casinos to tourists only. Players from Vietnam visit Cambodia, Macau, Singapore, and Hong Kong, as do residents of those nations. Vietnamese players can enter casinos in parts of Cambodia that are close to the Vietnamese border without even having a visa.

As you would have suspected, there is another, far more practical option to play besides gambling tourism: iGaming.

Vietnam’s rules for online gaming

Although there is currently no legal online gambling in Vietnam, gamers have always had little trouble accessing offshore gambling sites since they are typically quite shrewd.

The black and gray markets’ revenue figures attest to the appeal of the niche. Police discovered a gambling ring in 2022 that took in over $1.2 billion in wagers, but this was by no means an isolated incident. Vietnamese gamblers also place millions of dollars’ worth of bets on offshore gambling sites after mastering the use of VPNs to get around banned websites.

A market need

Vietnamese-specific adjustments must be made to your online casino’s offerings in order to draw in and keep Vietnamese gamers.

The Vietnamese prefer particular regional games, such the dice game Bầu Cua Cá Cọp and the token game Xóc Dĩa, as was already described above. Live games, which are incredibly well-liked in the area, should be another pillar of your casino’s content. Last but not least, don’t overlook the traditional games: a Vietnamese online casino would likely provide slots, blackjack, and baccarat.

The Vietnamese are also huge fans of esports, horse and greyhound racing, basketball, futsal, Australian rules football, and other sports.

Regarding payment options, there are also some requirements. Most Vietnamese people use e-wallets or cryptocurrencies and are not banked. The most popular ones are Viettal Pay, Momo, Moca, ShopeePay (AirPay), and ZaloPay. More than 20 million people possess at least one cryptocurrency, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Litecoin, and Bitcoin Cash, which are being used as an alternative to fiat money.

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