Vietnamese police bust a $1.2 billion betting ring

Vietnamese police have smashed a massive online betting ring worth some $1.2 billion, state media and an official said Wednesday, as the government cracks down on illegal gambling during the World Cup.

A police source in Hanoi told AFP that 12 people were arrested across southern Vietnam, including Ho Chi Minh City, the commercial capital. The gambling website’s server was based in Cambodia.

“The raid was part of a central effort to curb illegal gambling, especially when the World Cup tournament is taking place,” the source said.

The Vietnamese communist government began to loosen its grip on domestic gambling, allowing Vietnamese to bet in casinos and open some sports betting.

Online gambling is still prohibited, but profitable illegal operations have become widespread, leading to a crackdown during the World Cup period and ahead of the traditional Lunar New Year festival.

Also read: Vietnamese police bust $1 billion illegal online gambling ring

According to state media, the newly exposed gambling ring was formed at the beginning of 2021 and involved online football betting for customers mostly in South Vietnam.

Gamblers deposited cash into banks in exchange for virtual currency or handed cash over to agents within the network.

On Monday, police in the central province of Nghe An also arrested 11 people on similar charges in a separate episode.

The arrests come after Vietnamese police uncovered a cryptocurrency ring worth around $3.8 billion last year.

The Ministry of Public Security warned the public earlier this month not to fall into “illegal traps” and also vowed to impose harsh penalties on the organizers of the betting rings.

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