International edition
September 18, 2021

Widening of casino access to coincide with launch of the Van Don resort

Vietnamese locals to gain entry to casinos ‘within 3 years’

(Vietnam).- It’s “80 to 90 percent certain” that Vietnamese citizens will be allowed to gamble in big casino resorts in that country within “two to three years”, said a speaker at the Macao Gaming Summit. Currently only foreigners or Vietnamese with overseas passports are legally allowed to gamble in the 13 or so establishments of varying size that are unofficially classified collectively as ‘casinos’.

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owever, safeguards including entry levy and credit checks are likely to apply, said the same speaker. “At that time Vietnamese will be allowed to play in Van Don and Ho Tram – not in small casinos,” said Augustine Ha Ton Vinh, who describes himself as an advisor to the Vietnamese government.

He was referring respectively to a multi-billion U.S. dollar casino resort proposed near Hanoi in the north of the country – but still on the drawing board – and another international-standard resort already built in the south of the country near Ho Chi Minh City.

Vinh said it was likely Singapore-style safeguards – such as an entry fee to create a barrier for the poor, and also credit history checks for players would be adopted by the government. He added the necessary legislation could be drafted and passed “in two years if they want to”. “The Vietnamese government has sent a lot of delegations to Macau, Australia and Singapore to learn best practice,” said Vinh.

He added that the timing of the announcement on locals being admitted to integrated resorts would coincide with the likely opening of the Van Don project in Quang Ninh province east of Hanoi. Van Don Economic Zone already has a ferry service to Mong Cai, a town on the border with China.

Vietnam’s politburo in June commissioned a study on Van Don that should be ready by mid-2014, said Vinh. The same notional us$ 4 billion investment threshold used for Ho Tram would also apply, he added.

Industry sources have told Business Daily on a non-attributable basis they wonder why, assuming the Vietnamese government is acting in good faith, it would leave foreign investors – who have already spent many tens of millions of U.S. dollars on Ho Tram – floundering for business for up to three years, rather than fast tracking locals’ entry to help Ho Tram through its opening phase.

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