A ban removal on locals thrives casino industry

By Mai Hanh - Jul 27, 2017 | 07:13 AM GMT+7

TheLEADERThe government has just lifted the ban which forbade Vietnamese nationals from playing at local casinos, paving the way for the gambling industry emerging in the country.

A ban removal on locals thrives casino industry
Vietnamese people are no longer denied access to local casinos. Photo: Internet

Viet Nam had a long history of prohibiting locals from playing in its domestic casinos, fearing for gambling addiction prevalence. 

The ban was removed in Jan this year when the government issued a new decree on casino business, which takes effect from 15 March 2017. 

Locals now are allowed to enter gambling facilities, which once opened to foreigners only. 

According to the new legal framework, players must be above 21 years old and earn at least VND10 million (USD$440) per month.

Casino projects are licensed only if they meet the requirement of minimum investment of US$2 billion.

The ban removal is piloted for 3 years. After the test period, the government will evaluate it and decide whether to lift the ban permanently or impose it again.

However, the temporary ban lifting has attracted both domestic and international casino developers. 

According to Bloomberg, Viet Nam’s top investors, Vingroup, Sun Group and FLC Group, are planning casino projects in the country. 

Vingroup invests in a casino resort on PhuQuoc island off southern Vietnam, while Sun Group and FLC select Van Don island off northern to build their casino complex.

Gambling ban lifting attracts both local and foreign investors. Photo: Bloomberg

Foreign investors are namely Chow Tai Fook Enterprises, Asian Coast Development, Pinnacle Entertainment, and Harbinger Capital.

Las Vegas Sands Chairman Sheldon Adelson has also long expressed interest in the Vietnamese market. “Mr. Adelson has been there multiple times and other members of our development team have visited on many occasions”, Las Vegas Sands’ spokesman told Forbes.

Games of chance are increasingly common in Viet Nam. A survey revealed that Vietnamese people spend an estimated US$800 million per year gambling in casinos abroad. 

Money spent on lottery from 2011 to 2015 reached USD$13 billion, according to the Ministry of Finance. Vietlott, a state-owned lottery company, announced revenue of more than US$70 million in 2016.