Vietnam busts USD 340 mn football betting ring

Vietnamese police busted an underground football gambling ring worth USD 340 million ahead of Euro 2016, state media reported on Tuesday.

Gambling is banned in Vietnam outside of a state-run lottery and a few foreigner-only casinos.   -  AP

Vietnamese police busted an underground football gambling ring worth more than USD 300 million ahead of Euro 2016, state media reported on Tuesday, as authorities look to block the black market betting that typically surges during major international sporting events. The police has arrested 23 people from the gambling network since June 9, the state-run An Ninh Thu Do reported.

"The members of the ring have spent a total of $340 million on online football betting since June 2015," the report said.

The gamblers came from northern and central cities, using fake names and addresses for their online identities to avoid detection. The ring's Hanoi-based leader, 52-year-old Bui Khac Hien, was among those swept up in the arrest, the report added.

Gambling is banned in the communist country outside of a state-run lottery and a few foreigner-only casinos. But the law is widely flouted ahead of major sporting competitions. During Euro 2012, nearly 1,000 suspected gamblers were reportedly taken into custody while police blocked more than 300 illegal betting websites.

In Thailand, where betting is similarly outlawed, police have also vowed to crackdown on underground bookies during the Euro 2016 tournament.

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