Google Play Eliminated 56 Vietnamese Casino Applications
Google Play eliminated over 56 gambling applications which target players from Vietnam. Google said it removed the apps because the government of Vietnam requested removal, due to the applications being illegal in their country.
Vietnam has a strict ban on casino-style gaming apps. The ban applies whether the app allows real money play or points. Because local gaming operators can use such gaming to track offline real money bets, any mobile casino games are illegal.
In most of those cases, the apps misused player data. That misuse might have been selling player information to third-party companies. In some cases, the misuse might have been targeting players with ads for other products.
Tracking Electronic Payments
Vietnam has made similar requests before. It does not want Vietnamese residents in the habit of playing casino games. Officials say it teaches residents harmful habits, whether it is for real money or not.
Mobile gaming apps are particularly hard for Vietnamese investigators to trace, because of the electronic payment methods. Apps which allow payments in crypto-currencies are the hardest to trace, say Vietnamese authorities.
Vietnam Ban on Gambling
Most forms of gambling are illegal in Vietnam. While Vietnam has land-based casinos on the borders with Cambodia and China, residents were not allowed to wager at local casinos until a couple of years ago. The border casinos were designed for cross-border gambling, while a handful of coastal and river casinos were designed for foreign tourists.
Two years ago, the Vietnamese government approved a program that allows certain residents to gamble. If someone can prove they have an income of $400 or more, they are allowed to visit local casinos and gamble. The government did not make the policy permanent, but said they would reevaluate 2 to 3 years down the road.
Vietnamese Gambling Habits
The Vietnamese people love to gamble, which might be a reason for the country’s strict gaming laws. Residents wager on lotteries and football (soccer) at the local, national, and international level.
Lottery organizers cannot be trusted, so many Vietnamese lotteries use the numbers drawn from international lotto companies. Rural citizens sometimes wager on cock fighting, which is illegal. Officials throughout southeast Asia look the other way on cockfighting wagers during certain festivals and holiidays.
Betting on Bau Cua
Many Vietnamese people bet on Bau Cua, which roughly translates to “gourd and crab”. The game is sometimes known by the longer name “ba`u cua cá cop”, which translates to “squash-crab-fish-tiger”. Bau Cua uses 3 dice to produce results.
Instead of having 1 to 6 pips on the six sides, each side of the dice have a different picture: a fish, a crab, a prawn, a stag, a rooster, and a calabash gourd. The game is so old that its origins are somewhat obscure – which is a further indication of how ingrained gambling is among the Vietnamese people.
Vietnamese gamblers might enjoy their traditional gambling games, but they love mobile phone apps with casino games, too. Because of their popularity, Vietnamese police try to maintain strict control of the activity.
Australian Gaming Apps
Vietnam is by no means the only country to ask Google or Apple to remove gaming apps from their mobile apps stores. Australia asked Apple to remove gaming apps from the Australian version of the Apple IOS Apps Store. Apple complied, because it wanted to sell thousands of other non-gaming apps to Aussie customers.
The same goes for Vietnam. If Google Play wants to sell countless other apps to Vietnamese users, it needs to comply with the government requests on gaming apps. Android smartphones are quite popular in Vietnam, so it stands to reason that Google Play would comply.