Gambling is very popular in Vietnam. During the first few days of Tết every house becomes a casino. Entire families, including children, gamble on bầu cua cá cọp as part of the New Year celebration. Police do not care much about gambling this time of the year. In alleys, small shops, bars and even on the street, there are gatherings to play card games such as tiến lên and cắt tê. When this is over, gambling creeps back underground and is played behind closed doors.
You see, while there are licensed casinos here and more being built, these are only for tourists and overseas Vietnamese. By law, locals who do not hold a passport from another country cannot access them. This is the reason internet gambling and trips to casinos in Cambodia and Laos are so popular. This is what I will discuss in this article, starting with the online casino aspect.
There are many online casinos that support our language (tiếng Việt) and Vietnamese đồng currency (VND). Most also accept bank transfer from local banks. It should be noted that not all casinos are regulated and some are dishonest. It is important when choosing one to pick from ones that are legal and licensed in a foreign country with a strong gambling commission. My personal top picks are listed below.
To play in these casinos you will need to make a deposit. For this, local bank transfer can be used. All casinos listed above take transfers from DongA Bank, ACB (Á Châu), Sacombank (Sài Gòn Thương), and VietinBank (Công Thương Việt Nam). Dafabet also supports Eximbank (Xuất nhập khẩu) and 188Bet deals with every bank in Vietnam. You send these website companies money to gamble with. When you win, your balance will increase and you can request to cash it out at any time you like. Once you request a pay out, it is transferred to your bank in just a couple of days.
It is a smart idea to open accounts at all three casinos on our list. This allows you to take advantage of bonuses. Dafabet, 188 and 138 change their bonuses each week but have lots of promotions, comps and reload offers.
When you open accounts at all the online casinos recommended on this page, you will get emails from each with promotion offers. Also, each has different games and unique features. All have live dealer games for blackjack, baccarat, and roulette. These are games that use a real casino, dealer and a webcam. You are seated at the table online, but can interact with the dealer and watch it all play out. The difference between casinos is each has unique software, different dealers and table layouts. Personally I think 188Bet has the sexiest dealers but an argument could be made for any of the three. Also, these casinos have other games like slots with each one offering different features.
In a moment I will discuss land based casino gambling in Cambodia and Laos. It is important to note that many of these land casinos also have an internet version. We at Asiabet do not suggest using their online versions. These are near entirely unregulated and it is too easy for unregulated casinos to cheat. Dafa888, 138 and 188Bet are licensed by reputable gaming commissions that regularly carry out audits to ensure the fairness of the games. Unlike the unregulated Cambodian casinos, there is no chance of being cheated when using them properly licensed and legal overseas casino sites. Therefore it makes sense to stick with sites that are reputable, pay out winnings and offer you a fair chance of winning money.
As mentioned in the intro, Vietnam land based casinos are for foreigners only. Vietnamese gamblers living near a Cambodia border will have no trouble finding casinos as Cambodia has built 32 of them around their borders. While they exist at other crossings, the Mecca for Vietnamese casino gambling is the Bavet Checkpoint where about a dozen casinos are located. This is the border crossing that connects Moc Bai, Vietnam/Bavet to Svay Rieng, Cambodia. It is just over an hour drive from Ho Chi Minh City. The casinos here cater almost exclusively to Vietnamese locals.
In Bavet you’ll find all forms of gambling. Casino games and slots are offered, as is football betting and cock fighting. The currencies accepted are United States dollar (USD), Cambodian riel (KHR) and of course Vietnamese dong (VND). Most of the staff speaks both Khmer and Vietnamese.
If you do not live near a border, for example if you are in Hà Nội, there are still options. You could travel by plane, train or bus to a Cambodian border town or simply take a holiday. A very inexpensive option if you are on a budget is taking the sleeper bus to Vientiane, Laos. This is a 20+ hour trip but it is a sleeper and tickets can be purchased for as little as 300,000₫. Once in Vientiane you have several casino options. You’ll have no trouble finding transportation to a casino if you contact Dansavanh or Savan Vegas.
Note that Savan can help you with buses from Vietnam too. From their website: “Buses depart from the Lao Bảo border and Đồng Hà every other day. Buses from Quảng Trị, and Huế are available on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Saturday and Sunday service is only available in Đà Nẵng and Hà Nội.“
Although the aforementioned Laos casinos are nice, these are best for people who are worried about expenses. For those who prefer convenience over cost there are some better options. Rather than flying to Vientiane, flying to Phnom Penh, Cambodia and visiting Nago World is probably the best choice. This is a multi-million dollar casino that offers 6 different types of table games and has well over 1,000 slot machines. They have plenty of Vietnamese speaking staff.
Another option for middle class Vietnamese is taking a flight to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Generally AirAsia or Malaysia Airlines is the cheapest Hanoi (HAN) to Kuala Lumpur (KUL) flights. Shopping around you should expect to find round trip tickets for under 6,000,000₫ for this just under 4-hour long direct flight. From the airport you can take a taxi to Resorts World Genting for RM60 to RM70 (about 405,000 VND to 475,000 VND). That taxi ride is generally just under an hour, but will be longer if there is heavy traffic.
At Resorts World Genting, also known as Genting Highlands, there are major casinos, hotels and other forms of entertainment. If the plane ticket price stretches your budget, be sure to book a hotel in advanced at Agoda.vn. Here you should be able to find a room at First World Hotel Genting or Theme Park Hotel for around 825,000₫. That’s the price including all fees and tax. It is great pricing for a casino town and the rooms are modern, clean and the location is great.
Of course there are many other possibilities as well. But for Vietnamese to gamble legally the options are travel or playing our Xổ Số Miền Nam, Xổ Số Miền Bắc and Xổ Số Miền Trung operated lotteries. Of course playing at casinos online is a great option too and probably the most convenient of the lot!