Soccer betting is not uncommon around the world and in Việt Nam, as well, though the activity remains illegal in the country. Last week, ahead of EURO 2016’s Round of 16, we asked our readers whether legalising sports betting would help eliminate the illegal variety. Việt Nam has been considering the legalisation of sports betting for the past six years. Here are some comments:
Hoàng Minh, Hà Nội
We have been waiting a long time and Euro 2016 has finally come. All members of my family, except the kids, and my friends, are crazy about this tournament.
We love football and are willing to stay awake most of the night to watch our favourite football teams compete. We sometimes still bet to see which team will win, but just for fun. Instead of placing money on a bet, we often make things fun by drawing on faces of losers or asking them to buy some foods.
Although sport betting demand has become popular, I do not think it is a good idea to legalise sport betting in Việt Nam.
When sports betting is legalised, young people who have never stepped foot ina casino or purchased a lottery ticket will try putting money down on a game, and some will develop gambling problems. This risk can't be overstated.
In some cases, gambling can become problematic behavior causing many difficulties. Problem gambling is harmful to one’s psychological and physical health. People dealing with this addiction can suffer from depression, distress, intestinal disorders and other anxiety-related problems. In some cases, severe problem gambling can lead to suicide.
Gambling becomes a problem when behavior interferes with finances, relationships and the workplace.
Also, is the country mature enough to handle it?
Trương Vị, Hà Nội
Occasionally, in big football tournaments such as the World Cup, Euro Cup, UEFA Champion Cup, or Sea Games, we - the office employees - organise betting. In Việt Nam, sports betting is still not allowed, thus, it is normally seen as get-togethers in small groups betting on the sport. The main purpose, of course, is for fun and it makes people much more enthusiastic about watching a particular football match.
Betting in this way often ends with a party feasting both winners and losers. During the party people have great fun, chatting and discussing the match, without any grudges.
Unlike professional betting, those involved in “just for fun” betting can place any amount of money. Normally, it ranges from VNĐ20,000 to VNĐ100,000 (90 US cents to US$4.5), which is reasonable for office employees on a tight budget. Winners, of course, are paid. The money left in the banker’s pocket is used for the party.
Because the practice has not yet been permitted, such “betting for fun” is still going on in offices. For football matches – the king of sports in Việt Nam – such “illegal” betting will never stop.
Vince Nguyễn, HCM City
I think soccer betting is popular and legal in many countries, just like playing a lottery. However, for any type of gambling or betting, there should be specific legal frameworks and regulations to facilitate the activity. The legalisation of this practice will not only help prevent the illegal one but also create a source of income for the State.
I myself am not interested in betting as I often make wrong predictions of match scores. Also, in football, the unexpected is highly likely. It is really difficult to guess the score for each match in advance.
I do not place a bet on football matches, but I do stay awake during the night for teams of which I’m a fan. Staying sleepless several hours affects our health and our work the following day, so it’s better to sleep as much as possible before each football match.
Andrew Burden, Canadian, Hà Nội
Gambling is a real problem, worldwide. It is a vice, and like tobacco, alcohol, drugs and prostitution...will continue underground unless government regulates and taxes them. It’s easy and normal to buy a one- or two-dollar lottery ticket back home.
Betting is a social norm. Many offices have a dream team betting pool for preferred sports. Many companies put up prizes for a raffle draw. Las Vegas and Macau are world class holiday destinations.
Personally, I don’t gamble. Betting on horse races or dogs seems both silly and cruel. One of my friends follows statistics of players and teams and switches from one TV channel to another. He hasn’t even been to those countries and cities.
I think if math and economics classes at school were involved, students could learn about this potentially dangerous activity in a safe and fun learning environment. Nobody likes to lose, right? Sports should be about health, fun and teamwork.
The only sure thing in life is “death and taxes.” One other thing you learn the hard way is that “the house always wins” when it comes to betting. At least when you buy a lottery ticket, you know a lot of the proceeds go back into social programmes, such as helping drug and alcohol addicts...and gamblers. — VNS