An online gambling ring which handled transactions worth an estimated US$62 million was the subject of a recent police crackdown in Vietnam‘s central Thanh Hoa province, reports local media.

According to daily newspaper Tien Phong (Pioneer), the provincial police have detained 10 locals, including four ringleaders, and have confiscated two cars, 16 cell phones, four computers, and 461 million Vietnamese dong (US$20,400) in cash confiscated, reports news agency Xinhua.

The police reportedly said that the gambling ring handled online betting transactions, which totaled over 1.4 trillion Vietnamese dong (nearly US$62 million), from the beginning of 2017 up until their recent arrest.

While there are several casinos in the country, Vietnamese citizens are prohibited from gambling within its borders unless they possess a foreign passport. Penalties for individuals found to be in violation of the current law, are subject to either or both steep fines and a lengthy prison sentence.

In December of last year, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc announced that Vietnamese citizens will be permitted to gamble at two casino resorts on a two-year trial basis. The two casinos are both currently under development, one is located in Van Don Special Economic Zone at Ha Long Bay North Vietnam and the other will be on Phu Quoc Island in South Vietnam, respectively.

However, in March 2017, local players were reportedly still not being granted access to select area casinos despite the January passage of Government Decree 03/2017/ND-CP that instituted a three-year pilot program, which would allow Vietnamese passport holders to start gambling from Wednesday, March 22.

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