Google Play Wipes 56 Gambling Apps Targeting Vietnamese Gamblers

Removed apps have offered casino-style games, which are prohibited under Vietnamese gambling laws

Google has wiped out 56 gambling apps from its Google Play app store as those were breaching Vietnam’s existing gambling laws, local news outlet Vietnam News reports citing official information by the Deputy Director of the Vietnamese Authority of Broadcasting and Electronic Information, Le Quang Tu Do.

With very few exceptions, gambling is mostly illegal on the territory of Vietnam, particularly the provision of gambling services to Vietnamese nationals. However, online gambling operators have been trying to circumvent the existing bans and have been targeting Vietnamese customers for years now and mobile apps have become a popular means for the provision of gambling services.

According to a recent statement by the Authority of Broadcasting and Electronic Information, the 56 removed apps were all in Vietnamese and were specifically targeting Vietnamese customers. Google has informed local authorities that it has removed 40 of the gambling apps from its Vietnamese store after receiving request by the broadcasting authority. In addition, the other 16 apps have been found to have violated Google’s policies by illegally exploiting users’ data and have been removed globally.

Under Vietnam’s current laws, nationals are not allowed to engage in games that emulate casinos. Most of the recently removed apps were namely providing casino-style games.

Commenting on the recent removal of gambling apps from Google Play, the tech giant’s Public Policy and Government Relations Head for the Asia-Pacific Region, Helena Lersch, said in a statement that Google Play does not allow gambling apps for Vietnamese nationals and advised that such apps be flagged and reported.

Apple Removes Thousands of Gambling Apps from its Chinese Store

News about Google Play removing apps from its Vietnamese store arrived a couple of months after reports emerged that Apple had cleared thousands of gambling apps from its China store, following backlash from Chinese authorities.

The US tech giant confirmed that it had indeed removed multiple apps flagged as ones illegally offering gambling services and pointed out that the move had been undertaken in a bid for Apple to comply with Chinese regulations amid an intensifying crackdown on illegal gambling in the country.

Similarly to Vietnam, most forms of gambling, including services distributed online and through mobile devices, are forbidden in China. However, providers of such services have become quite resourceful in their efforts to attract customers through different mobile apps.

Locally popular messaging platforms have too been used as a proxy for Chinese nationals to be offered the opportunity to gamble with offshore gambling operators. News broke earlier this year that Chinese messaging app WeChat had closed more than 50,000 World Cup gambling accounts and deleted over 8,000 group chats related to gambling during this year’s edition of the major sporting event.

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