Wives keep gambling husbands in check during Euro season

By Thanh Nga, Hoang Nguyen   July 2, 2024 | 04:35 am PT
Thanh Ly snatched the VND500,000 ($20) that her husband Tuan Hung had received from a customer because she was afraid he would use it on football betting.

Since the Euro tournament started on June 15, many wives like Ly have strictly monitored their husbands' spending money and match watching gatherings, for fear they might lead to gambling debts.

Ly has been managing everything Hung earns to prevent him, a 30-year-old man in Hai Phong, from using it for a "slush fund" to fuel his gambling addiction.

All his bank account transactions send notifications to his wife's phone. She has also taken all real estate and vehicle papers from him. She even asked his friends not to lend him money, no matter what. Every day Hung gets only VND150,000 from his wife for expenses like breakfast, gasoline and medicine.

"I had to do that because during the last World Cup, he came home and said he owed nearly VND100 million from betting on football matches," Ly said.

Hung promised not to do it again and said this year's Euro would be just for fun, but his wife didn't believe him.

"Although I'm the breadwinner of the family, I still have to ask my wife for money every day," Hung said.

Duc Anh was forced to watch all Euro football matches at home at his wifes request. Photo courtesy of Duc Anh

Duc Anh in Nghe An Province was forced to watch all Euro football matches at home at his wife's request. Photo courtesy of Duc Anh

'Living life in misery'

In addition to having his spending controlled, Duc Anh in Nghe An is also supervised full-time by his wife. Since the Euro, he has been asked to only invite friends to his house to watch football when his wife is present, even though she has no interest in the sport.

Anh's wife Mai Hoa learned all the betting terminology and joined every online football betting discussion group to check on him. Sometimes she also reminded her husband that if he brings home debt, they will immediately get divorced.

"I can't even enjoy my hobby of watching football. I'm living my life in misery. Getting married doesn't mean getting a second mother," Anh said.

Hoa said her husband likes to watch football but is easily addicted to betting, so he must be supervised.

"At first it was just a bet on breakfast, then it went up to millions [per bet several times a day]. I am owing the bank money for building a house that hasn't been paid yet, so I can't get into more debt because of my husband," Hoa said.


Asso. Prof, Dr. Do Minh Cuong, former lecturer at the University of Economics, Hanoi National University, said that wives trying to control their husbands during football tournaments "is understandable," to avoid accruing family debt via betting and gambling.

In addition to traditional betting, Cuong said that other forms of Internet fraud via illegal gambling websites are increasingly popular.

A VnExpress survey showed that there are hundreds of football betting groups forums on social networks. The largest group has about 527,000 members and each day, more than 10 posts discuss the odds for Euro matches or provide betting suggestions with links to gambling websites where bets can be placed.

The popularity of these groups has prompted authorities to issue warnings about the illegality of betting before large football tournaments. In Vietnam, gambling in any form is prohibited by law. During the 2022 World Cup, the Ministry of Public Security and local police cracked down on 52 cases of major football gambling involving 140 people, with transactions totaling tens of thousands of billions of dong.

However, economic expert Do Minh Cuong also warned that wives who use overly extreme measure to control their husbands' habits may frustrate their partner, leading to other conflicts.

Take Hung for example. His wife's constant restriction of his spending exhausted him, and led to frequent arguments because he had to report even the smallest purchases. At one point, he threatened divorce, but the situation did not change. His wife's actions were supported by both families.

Being supervised by his wife morning, day and night gave Anh stress and embarrassed him in front of his friends. His friends made indirect remarks and even openly mocked him, refusing to meet him because they disliked the way his wife behaved when they watched football together. To avoid putting his friends in an awkward position, the 35-year-old man chose to watch football alone.

Many men went to cafes with large screens to gather to watch football on Nguyen Dinh Thi Street, Tay Ho District on June 16, 2024. Photo by VnExpress/Thanh Nga

Many men went to cafes with large screens to watch football on Nguyen Dinh Thi Street, Tay Ho District, Hanoi, on June 16, 2024. Photo by VnExpress/Thanh Nga

Open communication

To avoid affecting family finances and marriage, Asso. Prof, Dr. Cuong advised open communication. Husbands should share their passion for football and build trust with their wives, according to Cuong. In return, wives should express their concerns and encourage their husbands to pursue their interests in moderation, avoiding extreme behavior that might impact the family in negative ways.

Sharing the same viewpoint, cultural expert Nguyen Anh Hong, a former lecturer at the Academy of Journalism and Communication, also asserted that the desire to watch football, particularly among men, is legitimized by the fact that these large tournaments attract so much attention around the globe.

"Watching the Euros can help relieve stress and recharge a viewer with positive energy, so long as they don't participate in risky gambling activities that create economic pressure or personal bad blood," Hong said.

Rather than forbidding her husband from watching football with friends or controlling his expenses, Hoa Hong from Nam Tu Liem District, Hanoi, supports her husband's passion.

However, before each game, the 35-year-old woman reminds her husband to "enjoy in moderation" and avoid gambling activities that could affect family finances.

Thanh Cong, Hong's 40-year-old husband, is willing to let his wife check all his bank transactions and phone messages, and he discloses his daily expenses to her.

"The key to a successful marriage is understanding and trusting each other. Instead of imposing restrictions and creating difficulties, I’m willing to share everything so my wife can feel secure and I can comfortably pursue my interests," he said.

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