Gambling is pretty illegal in Vietnam - only foreign passport holders can play freely at local casinos, whereas Vietnamese citizens can only enter casinos on certain conditions and income requirements. These laws might have misled a few hundred Chinese nationals to think that it was safe to run what one of the biggest underground online gambling rings in Vietnamese territory.
During a massive raid involving almost 500 police officers, more than 380 Chinese nationals accused of running a $400 million illegal gambling ring were detained.Most of their activities were around hosting online platforms for Chinese gamblers to bet on illegal lotteries and sports games.
Police conducted the raid inside a gated community in the northern city of Hai Phong, 100 kilometres from Hanoi. In the compound, police found and confiscated around 2,000 smartphones, 530 computers, bank cards, and money that were allegedly used for the illegal operations.
"This is the largest ever gambling ring in terms of both the number of foreigners involved and in terms of money in Vietnamese territory," a statement from the Ministry of Public Security said.
Vietnam has been strict in enforcing its anti-gambling laws in all forms and has only made steps to legalize forms of gambling since 2017. Even gambling games inside online video games, like the online casinos in GTA V, or mobile games hosted by the likes of Apple and Google, have been banned.
It seems that despite strict laws, Vietnamese police have been pretty busy with locals gambling online. Earlier this year, they also uncovered an illegal internet betting operation that handled over $1 billion in funds.