Saturday, June 09, 2007

Gambling in Vietnam-Or how to loose all your money!

by Saigon Charlie

Some days ago I wrote in this blog that I had visited the Sheraton’s Hotel in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) where I tried my ‘luck’ at their Blackjack tables. As reported I lost, and to me, it appeared obviously rigged as the card draws from the dealer weren’t mathematically possible under normal circumstances.

It is interesting to note today that I heard from others that several casinos had been raided by local authorities for ‘irregularities’, including ‘signs of fraud’ in gambling and allowing locals to loose their money. Seems the government only wants stupid foreigners like me to do that.

My information goes on to state that four luxury hotels were raided as well as a single restaurant, with the police carting off US $1.5 million in cash as well as billions in dong. Ouch! I bet that hurt.

The places raided included the Equatorial, Duxton and Legend Hotels in Saigon as well as the VJC Star Hotel in Vung Tau. Seem several hundred were detained or thrown in the pokey.

What is extremely interesting to note from the articles I read is the following: “Police also found signs of fraud in the gambling, as no gamblers have ever won and some have denounced the fraud to police.” That statement sums up perfectly my observation at what was happening at the Sheraton casino in Saigon, although it seems they were not part of the police crackdown. In my opinion, they should have been!

I also came across some information concerning Vung Tau’s dog racetrack. Yes, you read that right, racing in Vietnam has gone to the ‘dogs’. Not sure if it is rigged or fixed but I suspect the dogs are real unlike the ‘chips’ and ‘cards’ at the Sheraton on their ‘virtual table’.

It seems the track's first race gets off at 19:30 every evening and is followed by another eight hounds bolting from their boxes every 15 minutes after that. For guys like me, you can bet up to 50,000 dong or if you prefer to loose larger amounts at a time, you can enter the VIP stands where bets are unlimited with odds reaching 60 to 1. Guess that means for a bet as little as VND 10,000, I can win VND 600,000!

It also seems that if you want to cross the border into Cambodia from Vietnam, hard core punters can cross over at the border crossing at Mocbai border point into Bavet, Cambodia. There you can find the ‘Las Vegas Sun’ Hotel and Casino. If you feel like loosing your money in Cambodia as well as Vietnam, their web site is at www.lasvegas-sun.com They say they have a ‘five star’ hotel, but I wonder who rated it….Hun Sen maybe?