1. What potential do you see in e-sports? Is there future in the betting business for e-sports? Does this carry a risk of illegal activities like other sports?
Online sport betting is a place of unearthed opportunities in Vietnam. You can see Vietnamese people are a big fan of many sports, especially football and volleyball. Economic growth and rise in real wages have led to more and more money ending up being placed on sporting events. Though there is no official number on the amount of money that people bet in online unofficial websites during big football events, I believe the number must not be lower than millions of dollars. Legalizing online betting for sports would help reduce tax losses by the Government, thus reducing public debt. Moreover, we are now in 4.0 industry so it is an unavoidable business trend in the future. It is important that we have sufficient regulations and management capacity to prevent illegal activities in this sector.
2. Vietnam does not yet have regulations on e-sports and betting in this sector. However, the government has issued Decree No. 06/2017/ND-CP on betting business on horse racing, dog racing, and international football. Do you think that this regulatory framework can be extended to include e-sports betting?
Decree 06 sets out a pilot program for betting business on horse racing, dog racing, and international football. It is even uncertain that this activity will continue being permitted after the trial period has lapsed, as it depends on the result of the pilot program. Moreover, I understand that international football betting is currently permitted only via terminal devices and telephones (i.e., sms only). Thus, it may take some other years to implement international football betting via internet, not to mention extension to online betting for other sports.
3. Are there any international regulations on e-sports betting? What regulations could Vietnam use as a basis for the domestic management of to manage betting business in this sector?
There is no international regulations on e-sports betting but each country has its own set of regulations. Vietnam can have a look at China whose lottery market is split into two segments: Welfare Lottery (since 1987) and Sports Lottery (since 1994) or the UK, which is one of the most liberal, and yet highly regulated, gambling markets in the world.
4. It is a widely held view that e-sports target a younger audience than football and especially horse and dog racing. How is this relevant to the regulation of e-sports and betting in this area? Are there other fundamental differences setting e-sports apart from more traditional sports?
I believe the adoption of regulations on e-sports betting does not depend on the coverage of e-sports (young/ old players). As long as e-sports and e-sports betting have potential negative impacts on the society, they need to be regulated. However, it is true that how they are to be regulated depends on the age range of the players. Regulating traditional sports betting must be different from e-sports betting given the difference in their nature, the extent the players can participate in the games, interaction among players, role play, etc.
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