Southeast Asia is a teeming melting pot of various cultures, where millions and millions of Western expats enjoy the tropical climate and all the exciting opportunities in the region. Indeed, there’s a one-of-a-kind charm that comes from residing in a place so distinctly different from where they come from. But sometimes, there’s this random lingering itch of missing the comforts of home, particularly in terms of enjoying all the intricacies of the sport they love: football.
Football is a global sport, and is quite big even amongst the Southeast Asian population, particularly in Vietnam, a burgeoning nation that just captured gold in the recently concluded 2019 SEA Games in the Philippines. The Vietnamese all share — in their own little way — a passion for the game, as reflected by their performance in the aforementioned biennial meet, overwhelming the group stage and beating regional rivals Indonesia 3-0 in the finals. Add that to the fact that a significant number of locals are known to be equally intense gamblers, and you’ve got the perfect recipe for a football betting paradise.
Football Bloody Hell’s Chris Darwen wrote an article on the magnitude of online football betting in which he describes the industry as a legitimate profit-generating machine. As a matter of fact, it accounts for somewhere close to 40% of the total online bets in the United Kingdom. Now the challenge here is how Western expats in Vietnam can get in on the action of football betting.
It’s important to know the parameters of casino gaming and sports betting in a country like Vietnam. ExpatBet’s guide on the general gaming and gambling industry in Vietnam underlines the ever-growing number of land-based casinos, all 30 of which are exclusive to foreign passport holders. They even began to allow other forms of betting, including horse and greyhound racing, as well as lotteries and, of course, international football.
These establishments offer the usual games to tourists and expats, but what’s more promising is their openness to football — and other sports — betting. In 2018, Vietnam’s National Assembly passed a bill legalising the concept of sports betting, following an earlier 2017 decree that allows players to bet on football matches. The post by Dezan Shira & Associates, however, also shared that the five-year pilot program only permits wagering on international games sanctioned by FIFA. This includes the World Cup, the Champions League, the Confederations Cup, the Copa America, and the Europa League.
All in all, Vietnam has the makings of a Western expat’s home away from home. Matthew Pike’s blog on the SE Asian country reinforces the notion, claiming that the fast-rising economy, the low cost of living, and the vibrant society all contribute to its appeal. Western expats, in general, can absolutely support whatever lifestyle they yearn for — whether they focus primarily on work, or mix in a little bit of fun with the occasional round of football betting.