Technology conglomerate Google agreed to remove 56 gambling apps from Vietnam’s Google Play online market on Wednesday.
Following a request by Vietnam’s Ministry of Information and Communications, Google erased the Vietnamese-based real-money gambling apps from their app store on October 3, Viet Nam News reported. The clean-up is considered integral in the co-operation between Google and the Vietnamese government in their efforts to curb the malicious use of information online.
Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc had also asked international tech companies for cooperation in the efforts.
All the apps were in Vietnamese focusing on Vietnamese-speaking players, including 16 apps which were reported to have violated Google Play’s code of conduct by exploiting user data illegally. These apps were removed worldwide as well as from the Vietnam market.
The remaining 40 apps were removed at the request of Vietnam’s Authority of Broadcasting and Electronic Information. The Authority had previously sent a memo to Apple and Google requesting their assistance in removing the gambling apps.
Google’s head for Public Policy and Government Relations for the Asia-Pacific Helena Lersch said Google does not allow any content involving online gambling.
Just three days prior to the app cleanup, the Vietnamese police busted another online gambling syndicate valued at VND622 billion (US$26.7 million), VN Express reported. Lam The Tai, 48, the Chinese-Vietnamese alleged leader of the syndicate was arrested on September 30. The kingpin reportedly organized betting on soccer games at www.3in1bet and also helped his customers mortgage their assets.
In Vietnam, sports betting is legal and people over the age of 21 who make at least VND10 million per month (US$429) can gamble only at specified casinos. Online betting, on the other hand, is outlawed.