VIETNAM busts $26 million online betting ring.

Vietnamese police broke up an online football gambling ring worth around $26 million, arresting four people as authorities look to stop black market betting that surges during sporting events like the  ongoing World Cup.

Gambling is illegal in Vietnam apart from the  state-run lottery  and a few casinos which are only open to foreigners.

But the law is widely flouted, especially during  top-tier sports competitions when many punters head online or to illegal gambling dens to try their luck.

''Since  early 2017, the total transactions of the gambling ring have been worth  600 billion dong  [$26 million]'', state run Vietnam television reported, adding that thousands of people across Vietnam had used its service.

Under  Vietnam's criminal law anyone participating in gambling or organising gambling could face up to 10 years in jail.

The government has moved to ease restrictions, introducing a pilot programme in 2017 that would allow wagers  on a limited number of international football matches and adopting a law earlier this month that permits state-sanctioned  betting.

But the illegal  market remains dominant  as the small amount allowed for betting $44 per match - is deemed too minuscule  by passionate punters.

Authorities around the region are stepping scrutiny of  sports betting  as the  2018 World Cup in Russia leads to a spike in online bets.  [Agencies] 


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