The gambling industry in Vietnam has grown significantly during the last couple of years thanks to the collapse of Macau’s casino industry. Due to an anti-corruption crackdown launched by Beijing targeting casinos in Macau, a number of VIP gamblers from Mainland China have decided to travel to neighboring countries like Vietnam, Cambodia and the Philippines to gamble as gaming laws are a lot more friendly here.
However Vietnam’s gambling laws do not allow locals to gamble at the casinos and hence only foreigners are allowed to gamble. The government is currently reviewing a new proposal that will look to lift the gambling ban on locals and could make a decision before the end of this year. Should the ban be lifted, the Vietnamese government is expected to earn a significant amount of money in the form of gambling taxes and will also attract foreign investment into its casino industry as a number of foreign developers are interested in developing new casinos provided locals are allowed to gamble.
The Vietnamese government appears to be softening its stance against its ban on locals after the municipal Department of Culture and Sports approved the inaugural edition of the Bridge And Poker Championship to be held in Hanoi. The tournament officially started on July 29 and will go on for a period of nine months before the eventual winner is announced and rewarded with a cash prize of VND 40 million.
The government decided to approve the tournament as it labeled the event as a sports tournament. Players will be referred to as athletes and be eligible to receive prizes and medals similar to other sporting events in the country. Players who want to take part in the first ever Bridge And Poker Championship will have to pay an entry fee of VND 1 million.
Around 2,000 players are expected to participate in the tournament and the top players who make it to the final table will be chosen to represent Vietnam in a number of international tournaments including the 2017 Southeast Asian Games. Some of the top players expected to take part include Duong Vi Khoa and Linh Tran.
The approval for the first ever Bridge and Poker tournament is a result of a lot of effort put in by the Vietnam Bridge and Poker Association which approved by the Ministry of Home Affairs back in 2014 and is monitored by the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism.