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Football betting to be legal in Vietnam

The National Assembly Standing Committee on Wednesday, August 14, discussed the government’s draft decree on betting business for horse racing, dog racing and international football. Accordingly, the minimum bet is VND10,000 and the maximum is VND1 million ($50) per day.

On August 14, the National Assembly Standing Committee considered the draft decree on betting business for horse racing, dog racing and international football.

Concerning the minimum and maximum bets - VND10,000 ($0.5) and VND1 million per day, Chairman of the National Assembly’s Justice Committee Nguyen Van Hien said these figures are unreasonable because VND10,000 is just enough to buy a bundle of water spinach. He suggested to increase the minimum level to VND50,0000 and the maxima number to VND5 million per day, adding that these levels are still low.

"VND5 million ($250) is big for the poor but for the rich perhaps they do not bet at that amount. If the maximum is fixed at that amount, they may illegally bet," he said.

The goal that the Ministry of Finance set the minimum and maximum is to restrict the participation of the poor, however, Ms. Truong Thi Mai, Chair of the National Assembly’s Committee for Social Affairs said that this level can only control the rich, not the poor.

"In fact, I know that many students borrowed money from usurers to bet," Mai said.

National Assembly Vice Chairman Tong Thi Phong said the bet amount should be prescribed from time to time to fit the fact.

Chairman of the National Assembly’s Committee for Ethnic Minorities Ksor Phuoc noted money laundering in this business.

The draft decree also stipulated that initially a state-owned company will run the international football bet business, with a minimum capital of VND500 billion ($25 million). Hien noted that this is contrary to the Enterprise Law’s anti-monopoly provisions.

According to the Ministry of Finance, the legitimacy of the betting business is to meet the entertainment needs of a segment of the population and to attract tourists, contributing to narrow illegal gambling and betting activities, limiting the negative impacts and having more revenue to invest in social welfare programs.

However, the Chairman of the National Assembly’s Defense and Security Committee – Mr. Nguyen Kim Khoa - said that the Government must clarify the goals.   

"The goal is to attract investment (like casinos), or what? In my opinion, the biggest goal of this task is to create the legal playing field and prevent social evils, particularly in football betting. As such, this decree aims to social goals rather than the budget target. The Government should have a clear view to achieve these goals," he said.

Mai added that according to the Ministry of Finance’s report, the decree will bring about only positive influences, not negative ones. "I’m afraid that the society does not think so," she said.

The Finance Ministry said that if the decree is passed, it will attract investment, create jobs for many people. In 2010, horse racing operations brought about VND21.6 billion (over $1 million) to the budget and dog racing activities with VND2.3 billion.

NA Vice Chair Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan said the decree will make impacts on the culture, society, law and order so it should be carefully considered. "It is necessary to clarify the goal to create a legal playground, restrict illegal activities rather than revenue goals," she said.

Cam Quyen

Source: vietnamnet.vn

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