In Vietnam, federal legislators have reportedly passed a provisional measure that will legalize some sportsbetting in the Southeast Asian nation from the first day of next year.

According to reports from the Viet Nam News and the Nikkei Asian Review newspapers, yesterday saw over 94% of the 498 member National Assembly consent to permit sportsbetting as part of the much larger Law on Sports and Physical Training with the government of General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong now planning to issue detailed regulations before the end of autumn.

The newspapers reported that the list of sports on which Vietnamese punters may soon be allowed to place wagers is expected to include non domestic soccer games as well as dog and horseracing contests while the nation’s dong is to serve as the official currency for all bets.

The passage of the legislation in Hanoi reportedly followed the launch early last year of a pilot program that sees adults permitted to place wagers on designated horseracing and international football contests. The latest measure has moreover been designed to stop punters from illegally wagering on international sportsbetting websites, which is a practice thought to be responsible for millions of dollars leaving the country every year and considerably worsening its current estimated budget shortfall of around $9 billion.

Nikkei Asian Review estimated that Vietnamese gamblers spend approximately $800 million a year with overseas sportsbetting operators located primarily in Singapore, Macau and Hong Kong. By contrast, the country’s almost 95 million people wagered some $13 billion on the national lottery for the five years to 2015 with state-owned operators experiencing average year-on-year revenue gains of about 12%.

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