Traditional forms of gambling have long been accepted within Vietnam. The practice of cockfighting and other animal bloodsports which are typical of Southeastern Asia have long been accepted throughout the country. In addition to this, Vietnamese New Year (known as Tet) is a significant time for culturally accepted forms of gambling within the country, due to the widespread practice of playing Bầu cua cá cọp – a dice based game of chance. This is traditionally played for money by friends and family throughout the celebratory period.
Gambling is a complex issue within Vietnam. It is present as a cultural norm within certain sections of society, yet on the whole, it is illegal for citizens of Vietnam to gamble. In recent times culturally specific forms of gambling have mixed with more western ideals. This may perhaps be due to the role American soldiers played during the Vietnam war, transferring knowledge of card games and western gambling techniques to locals and now more recently the growth of online and WAP phones means that websites directing people to gambling such as M88 Cacuocare growing.
Perhaps then it was this exposure to western styled games that has lead to Vietnam constructing several large casinos, with it being speculated that the country may legalise gambling for its citizens. This would be a hugely significant event in the history of Vietnamese gambling and gaming, as previously, there have been few options for the native population in terms of gambling. At present, foreigners are welcome to play at any of the casinos on the much lauded Ho Tram Strip, which is valued at circa $4.5 billion dollars. This was established on the success of such gambling hubs as Macao and Singapore and is expected to return huge profits for Vietnam.
Vietnamese gambling is currently undergoing a process of modernisation. The government may soon allow its citizens to gamble within its luxury casinos. Regardless of this, the more engrained, small-scale gambling practices of cockfighting and dice games are sure to remain an important part of Vietnamese gambling culture.