Gambling in Vietnam has grown over the past few years, yet laws of the country do not allow locals to take part in casino gaming. Only foreign visitors have the option to take part in casino game play. However, the government of Vietnam is currently reviewing a proposal that would remove the ban against locals when it comes to gambling and this change could be in place before the year’s end. In the meantime, the government seems to be taking baby steps in preparation for locals to be able to enjoy gambling. Just recently, a Bridge and Poker Championship was approved for Hanoi, with the event kicking off this past weekend.

The Bridge and Poker Championship began on the 29th of July and will take place over a nine month time frame before an overall winner is crowned. The government has approved the tournament, labeling the event a ‘sports tournament’. Players who take part will be known as athletes and be eligible to earn prizes and medals as one would if taking part in a sporting event of Vietnam.

Entry fees for the competition are VND1 million and VND2 million, which equals $44.6 and $89 in USD. On Friday, 18 ‘athletes’ took part in the preliminary round of the tournament and the winner of this round will earn VND6 million, equal to $267.5 USD.

Overall, the championship should see around 2,000 players competing with top players chosen from the competition to take part in the 2017 Southeast Asian Games, representing Vietnam in the process. Bridge was part of the SEA Games in 2011, opening ceremonies pictured above.