he draft decree also says that investors must have $4 billion at least in investment capital to develop projects with casino. Investors can only build casinos if they develop the projects with service, tourism, and entertainment areas.
To date, four such projects have been licensed. Of these, the project in Quang Nam has just kicked off, while the construction of the complex in Van Don still has not begun; only a resort has been built on Phu Quoc Island.
The project in Ba Ria – Vung Tau – The Grand Ho Tram Strip is the only operational casino which has received clients for the last three years.
Investors seem to have become impatient. They said that if going to casinos is still prohibited in Vietnam, Vietnamese will go abroad to gamble, and will take dollars
The participants at a recent workshop heard that the amount of dollars Vietnamese take abroad every year, mostly to Hong Kong, Cambodia and Singapore, is hundreds of millions of dollars.
Some experts believe the figure could be up to one billion dollars.
Michael Kelly from ACDL, said that casinos, if controlled well, would attract tourists to Vietnam and be big tax payers. He has suggested opening casinos to Vietnamese in a pilot program for three years.
He believes that three years would be long enough for Vietnam to learn from experience and create reasonable policies
Professor Ha Ton Vinh also thinks that Vietnam needs a time long enough to collect information and analyze it.
He commented that the government of Vietnam was considering carefully the measures to manage casinos, but will not know for sure how things would go until implementation.
Kelly said if the government allows investors to develop projects on a trial basis, it needs to treat all investors equally, with no discrimination against foreign or Vietnamese.