The history of the Hanoi lottery

Hanoi. Cars and motorcycles on road during daytime

The history of the Hanoi lottery

Gambling is practiced all across the world as a recreational activity as well as a means to earn money. A lottery is a form of gambling. Some countries in the world do not allow gambling. Some have allowed gambling and regulated it very recently. Vietnam is a country that traditionally allowed the lottery as the only form of gambling and had banned all other forms of gambling altogether until recent times.

Vietnam and Hanoi

The Socialist Republic Of Vietnam lies on the easternmost part of the Indochinese Peninsula in Southeast Asia. Hanoi is its capital city. Vietnam is one of the fastest-growing countries in the world.

The lotteries in Hanoi

The lottery has been the only form of gambling that was legal in Vietnam. No other form of gambling was standard in Vietnam until the late 20th century.

Some old lottery tickets found in Hanoi suggest that the French were responsible for bringing the lottery in Vietnam. The French were selling these lottery tickets, which were colored in pink and white for most of the time.

These lottery tickets are called ‘Loterie Indochinoise’ in the local language. Looking at these ‘Loterie Indochinoise’, it is quite evident that the French authorities administered these. The French authorities used to sell and market these lottery tickets in Vietnam. What might be the possible reason for the French introducing the lottery in Vietnam? Indeed, the French wanted to increase their overseas income. They employed a lot of tactics to do so. Selling lottery tickets in Vietnam seems to be a part of this purpose.

When the tickets were studied closely, it was found that they were printed in Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam. On the bottom of the tickets, it is mentioned that the tickets are printed in Hanoi. However, though these tickets are printed in Hanoi, they bear the Vietnamese, Chinese, Khmer, and Lao languages on it. To explain this, it is speculated that the sale of these tickets was not limited only to Hanoi, or for that matter, only till Vietnam. So, as per the indication on ‘Loterie Indochinoise’, it is quite evident that these tickets were sold in all the colonies of France in the region of South-East Asia.

The lottery during Japan’s occupation in Vietnam

During the second world war, Japan invaded and occupied Vietnam for around five years. This period was from September 1940 till 1945.

The lottery tickets found in Hanoi suggest that they were printed in Hanoi between the years 1942 to 1944. This means that the French used to sell the lottery in Hanoi, and the lottery business worked in Vietnam even during the imperial rule of Japan.


The lottery was the only form of gambling allowed in Vietnam. The traces of the lottery in Hanoi go back to the reign of Japan in Vietnam. Also, these lottery tickets printed in Hanoi were potentially sold in many parts of South-East Asia.

More posts here: