Lawyer in Vietnam Oliver Massmann Online Gaming and Gambling in Vietnam

Technically, “online gaming” [business] in Vietnam may cover: (i) “online game”, a game played over some form of computer network;[1] or (ii) “online gambling”, a term for gambling using the Internet.

In the latter case, Vietnamese law does not treat online gambling as a full-fledged, independent and separate branch of gambling industry.[2] Rather it deals with major branches of gambling activities which are (i) lottery; (ii) casino/prized electronic machines; (iii) horse and greyhound race and (iv) sports betting,[3] etc. and sets forth specific conditions and restrictions on the same. Except for online lottery, other forms of gambling using Internet-based have been so far strictly prohibited or at least not officially permitted.

It also bears noting that market access to such gambling branches varies by investment forms, legal entity of the investors and capacity thereof, etc. For example, while lottery business is solely reserved for State owned enterprises, foreign investment in casinos is permissible. By the same token, depending on characteristics of specific gambling business, the scope of activities can be either limited to a specific approved location in a major city of Vietnam (e.g. – dog/greyhound race or traditional lottery) or nationwide (online lottery).

As gambling is a sensitive activity which requires a high level of surveillance, a gambling investor must essentially follow a general principle of “doing exactly what your license states”. To make it clearer, if an investor is permitted to open a casino at a specific resort only, it will not have the natural right to offer casino products through the Internet. Similarly, besides 63 State-owned lottery enterprises in each province, a lottery corporation was established in 2013 (i.e. – Vietlott) to offer online lottery lotto games, digits games and fast drawing games nationwide. However, it can be broadly argued, though not absolutely guaranteed, that if an investor is licensed to carry out a specific [and conventional] “gambling” activities, it may have a good position to apply for the same business but operated on an Internet-based platform.[4]

Generally, an investment project in gambling must be first granted with an investment certificate issued by the people’s committee at provincial level. For such purposes, the investors must obtain in-principal of the Prime Minister on an ad-hoc basis. In fact, the Ministry of Finance (the “MOF”) is expected to play a crucial role in deciding whether a Project will be accepted. Subsequently, the project’s owner may have to obtain a special business license from the MOF upon its fulfilment of post-establishment conditions (i.e. – completion of construction works, installment of equipment and facilities, etc.).

In principle, gambling, other than lottery and betting at licensed sport center(s), is strictly prohibited in Vietnam and individuals involved in gambling activities may face criminal charge. Vietnamese law on gambling business is therefore still in its infantry stage though initial ideas date back to early 2000s. Gambling licenses have granted to selected investors mainly on a piloting scheme and with strict requirements (i.e. – not letting Vietnamese nationals in). Draft laws on sport betting, casinos, which serve as key guidance on gambling business, have been discussed from time to time but not yet been issued.

In late 2013, two major draft decrees on gambling activities (i.e. – betting[5] and casinos), content of which is not made public, were submitted by the Ministry of Finance, as the draftsperson, to the National Assembly of Vietnam for the latter opinions. It appears however that little progress has been since made due to conflicting opinions among the Government and divisions belonging to the National Assembly on these sensitive issues.[6]

To date, Vietnam has 01 national online lottery company (i.e. – Vietlott) and 63 [traditional] lottery companies operating at provincial level. 07 casino licenses have been granted to investors as a part of their resort complexes but only 6 of which have commenced their operations. A number of 5-star hotels in major cities of Vietnam are permitted to run prized electronic machines. The only house race ground which was open to public was closed in 2013. Another greyhound race ground is still active in Ba Ria – Vung Tau Province, Vietnam.

In light of the above, a foreign investor wishing to invest in this sector may consider different channels to access Vietnam online gaming market. For example, it may cooperate with licensed vendors in Vietnam as a supplier of equipment, machinery or materials or provider of technical assistance services relating to the same.[7] Or else, it may actively approach the MOF to initiate a proposed plan.

Please do not hesitate to contact Oliver Massmann under if you have any questions on the above. Oliver Massmann is the General Director of Duane Morris Vietnam LLC.



Lawyer in Vietnam Oliver Massmann Transformation of the Financial Market Management


Vietnam is one of the most dynamic markets of Asia. Since the financial institutions and authorities are a part of the general economic system, they are not only strongly involved in the changes, but also have a more solid financial basis for the competitiveness of the country. The financial sector in Vietnam is subject to substantial structural changes. It occurs at a huge speed. These changes entail great challenges for the financial managers – for instance due to the pressure on the currency with regard to the exchange rate, the inflation and the daily stock exchange fluctuations between huge profits and losses.

At the same time, the foreign capital market is still underdeveloped. Consequently, it requires the attention of authorities and managers in order to foster the system and to deal with new developments. The most important challenges consist in the transformation of the state-owned banking sector and the development of a subnational foreign capital system.

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Ausländer treffen beim Firmenkauf auf großes Durcheinander

Trotz des großen internationalen Andrangs steckt der vietnamesische Markt für Fusionen und Übernahmen noch in den Kinderschuhen. Lange schon bemüht sich der Gesetzgeber um moderne Regelungen– insbesondere im Hinblick auf die Gleichberechtigung ausländischer und inländischer Investoren ist ihm das aber noch nicht gelungen. Auch ein besserer rechtlicher Rahmen für Preisgestaltung, Lizenzierung und Kartellrecht tut not.

VON Oliver Massmann

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Lawyer in Vietnam Oliver Massmann Mergers and Acquisitions

X.1 Overview

With the passing of the Law on Investment (IL) and Law on Enterprises (EL) by the National Assembly of Vietnam, a foundation was laid for establishing a new Vietnamese investment regime in general and creating a level playing field for foreign and local investors in particular. The legal framework for the M&A sector in Vietnam has since been developing at a rapid pace. Portfolio foreign indirect investment was for the first time recognised as one of the official investment channels and has achieved spectacular growth in the recent years, despite a short pause in 2008 and 2009 due to the global economic recession. Currently, with some limitations, foreign investors can freely acquire stakes in Vietnamese enterprises. The limitations on foreign investment are defined by both Vietnam’s WTO commitments as well as domestic legislation. M&A activity is expected to remain buoyant in the coming years, with a projected growth rate of 25-30% per year over the next five years. The new wave of M&A sets to hit Vietnam, as Vietnam is once again perceived as an attractive investment market. The primary investors have been from Japan, Korea, Taiwan and recently from the ASEAN countries. Once the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and Free Trade Agreement between EU and Vietnam currently under final negotiation process, are concluded, it may also drive more interest in M&A activities in Vietnam.

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Breaking News – Casino Business Vietnam – Vietnamese Nationals will be allowed to gamble in Vietnam

According to Vietnamnet, an online news service in Vietnam, the Ministry of Finance (“MOF”) just finalized a new draft on casino business (“New Draft”). You can find the link here (–nguoi-viet-duoc-choi-casino-.html). It is not clear whether the Ministry of Finance has submitted the New Draft to the Government for consideration and approval and when this New Draft becomes effective. In addition, the MOF has not yet published the New Draft but we are trying to obtain this New Draft asap.We will keep you posted.

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Conditions for Sea Shipment and Supporting Services

Decree 30/2014/ND-CP of the Government dated 14 April 2014 on conditions for sea shipping and sea shipping supporting services business (Decree 30)

The Government has recently issued the new Decree 30 which will take effect from 1 July 2014, replacing Decree 115/2007/ND-CP dated 5 July 2007 of the Government on conditions for sea shipping services business.

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Lawyer in Vietnam Oliver Massmann The Most Important Clause In Any Commercial Contract In Vietnam – Get Your Dispute Resolution Clause Right!

Why arbitration makes sense

This article shows foreign businesses the necessity of dispute resolution clauses quite plainly and provides assistance in choosing appropriate alternatives to the
Vietnamese civil courts.

Disadvantages of Vietnamese courts

Most contracts in North America and Europe specify in detail all of the parties‘ obligations and will be closely watched for the effectiveness of its clauses.
The contract’s legal enforceability, however, is widely regarded as a given.

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Portfolio Investment

By Oliver Massmann
Did you know? New framework for indirect investment activities in Vietnam!

On 12 March 2014, the State Bank of Vietnam issued Circular No. 05/2014/TT-NHNN guiding the opening and use of foreign portfolio investment (FPI) accounts for indirect investment activities in Vietnam. The nouveau Circular is effective from 28 April 2014 and replaces Circular No. 03/2004/TT-NHNN dated 25 May 2004.

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© 2009- Duane Morris LLP. Duane Morris is a registered service mark of Duane Morris LLP.

The opinions expressed on this blog are those of the author and are not to be construed as legal advice.

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