Vietnam Gambling Corruption

Despite efforts by authorities over the previous 12 months, Vietnams sporting events are still riddled with illegal gambling and corruption.

In late December last year, two of Vietnam’s biggest football stars from the national team were arrested. Charges brought against the two star players, one of whom is described as the Vietnam ‘David Beckham’ were centred on match fixing at the South East Asian Games.

A further two players were arrested a couple of days later and charged with accepting large bookies payouts.

To add to the embarrassment, a senior official was arrested in January under suspicion of gambling millions of dollars on European football matched. This in itself is of course not illegal, however because the amounts wagered were so high the authorities immediately suspected he was involved in bribery or embezzlement.

In Vietnam, all forms of gambling are strictly illegal save for a very small amount of carefully vetted licensed premises.

Despite its prohibited status, gambling is phenomenally popular. “Everyone gambles here!’ said Vu Ngoc Bonglai, a student in Hanoi. “Sometimes it’s just because we’ve got nothing else to do.”

Government officials even admit, “gambling is very widespread throughout Vietnam. “The Vietnamese have been gambling for generations. What we really need to worry about is the scale of gambling, as well as the sources of finance that people use.” Said Tran Viet Trung, deputy head of the Anti-social Vices Department.

Over 20 referees, coaches and officials were already on match fixing charges even the four members of the national team were arrested in December.

There are widespread calls for the Vietnam government to admit the extent of the illegal gambling problem and move to wards legalising and legislating it.

“It’s impossible to eradicate it, so the government should legalise it instead. Maybe they could have something like official sports lotto,” suggested Vu Huyen, an artist based in Hanoi.

It is widely agreed that there are good and bad points in the argument to legalise gambling in Vietnam. However one factor upon which everyone seems to agree is that, weather they are allowed to or not, the Vietnamese will never loose interest in gambling. - 2006-02-14 13:29:42

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