Famous for the Cu Chi tunnels of Ho Chi Minh (formerly Saigon), Buddhist pagodas, and the spectacularly photogenic Ha Long Bay, has bingo started to make a splash in this southern Asian country?
The continent has long had an affinity with gambling in general which dates back to Ancient Chinese soldiers and over the last few years, it has started to spread around the continent. Bingo is considerably popular in the western world, especially the UK but how attractive is it in this pocket of Southeast Asia?
Recently, a representative from the respected online bingo portal bingosites.com commented: “It is easy to see the draw of bingo in many cultures, especially when you factor in the entertaining nature of the game and there is definitely potential for growth of bingo in Asian countries such as Vietnam, which has gradually over the years started to accept western traditions.”
If you visit a city such as Ho Chin Minh, you will notice that it is not unlike many other big cities around the world. Indeed it is the financial hub of the country, with offices of many global countries based there, reflected by the towering skyscrapers and inner-city rooftop bars. For all intents and purposes, it could well be London or even New York.
Does Vietnam already have its own version?
It could be argued that the country already has its own style of bingo which is known as ‘Lo To’. The game essentially shares many similarities to the UK version in the fact that the players mark of numbers on a piece of paper that are presented on a grid as they are called out.
This is in fact, quite a big part of the county’s culture and does attract a lot of people, though it is played more in smaller towns and is more low-key than you would expect. It is also combined with traditional music with performers doing their own act and combining this with calling out the numbers.
All players have to do is get five numbers to win and when they do, they shout ‘bingo’. In this sense, you could definitely say that ‘bingo’ in another sense is popular in Vietnam.
Could online bingo reach Vietnam?
Currently, gambling in Vietnam is banned completely and illegal activity is taken very seriously, however, laws are starting to loosen. Bingo is in somewhat of a grey area when it comes to determining whether this is ‘gambling’ in the true sense of the word, because of the more relaxed and social nature of the game.
Whether this will be enough for the Vietnamese authorities to allow online gambling in the country because of the already popular nature of their own version remains to be seen. Watch this space.