HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — Vietnamese gamblers will soon be allowed to place bets on international soccer competitions under a pilot project.
Under the decree signed by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc that takes effect by the end of March, Vietnamese over 21 years of age will be allowed to place bets of up to $44 a day, with a minimum bet of 44 cents.
The government will allow only one company to do this business during the five-year trial period and that company must have an investment capital of at least 1 trillion dong ($44 million).
After the five-year period, the government will decide whether to continue the arrangement. The decree also allows betting on local horse and dog races.
Last month, the government issued a decree allowing local people into casinos, which had been open only to foreigners.
Vietnam has long banned most types of gambling, but Vietnamese are passionate about soccer and bets on European soccer games are very common.
There are no official figures on how much money have been placed on illegal soccer bets, but police nationwide have busted multiple illegal soccer betting rings in recent years.
Last June, police in central Quang Binh province arrested 13 people for their involvement in a ring that organized bets on European soccer, with betting amounting to $132 million.