Vietnam Authorities Dismantle Massive Online Gambling Ring

Vietnam Authorities Dismantle Massive Online Gambling Ring September 26, 2018 September 26, 2018 Paul Butcher
 General September 26, 2018 by Paul Butcher

VietnamVietnamese authorities have disrupted a massive online gambling ring in an ongoing crackdown on illicit betting in the country. Guns and cash were seized in the operation that was estimated to be around $26 million and 10 people were arrested.

The online gambling ring had been in operation since July, running several sports betting websites and other forms of gambling, local police sources say. Hundreds of punters had since been lured into the illegal operation.

The wagers, amounting to $25.7 million, were reportedly placed through a number of password-protected websites. Investigation points to a website named Bong 88, identified by reports as being based in the US but is actually authorized by a licensing body in the Philippines. Bong 88, a popular wagering choice with local gamblers, has been cited in several police actions in the country over the years.

Vietnam prohibits most forms of gambling, with violators facing a maximum jail term of 10 years. Betting at local casinos is also only allowed for foreigners. However last year, the government announced plans to relax sports betting restrictions but new rules are not in force yet.

Discussions are ongoing on a pilot scheme which will allow some Vietnamese to gamble on local casinos, but the government is reportedly having a hard time convincing companies to volunteer for the pilot program.

Policing Officials Involved in Huge Gambling Ring

As betting becomes increasingly popular across the world, Vietnamese are also looking to get access to online betting. This demand has caught the attention of both foreign and local operators who are more than willing to tap into the Vietnamese betting market.

Illegal gambling websites are targeting the Vietnamese market and allegations have been made that even officials at the Ministry of Public Security tasked with policing online gambling are involved.

Gang Also Hired As Debt Collectors

Seven people were initially arrested and three others surrendered to authorities as investigation continues in the hunt for other culprits involved. Police conducted a series of raids in several houses across multiple cities in the central region of the country and confiscated a number of cars and mobile phones along with two rifles and $20,000 cash. Details of the police operation are posted on Quang Nam provincial police’s official website.

The gang is also reported to be involved with illegal loan sharks and could be hired to collect debts forcefully. This is not the first time that at online gambling racket has been busted in Vietnam.

Paul ButcherAuthor

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