The Vietnamese government will likely permit local residents to gamble in casino
s during a three-year trial as it is taking a prudent stance on developing the gambling business that is driving huge attention from foreign players, according to an industry watcher.
The country’s top leaders have recently decided to allow Vietnamese to enter two designated integrated resorts (IRs), one on the Van Don island in the northern province of Quang Ninh
and the other on the Phu Quoc Island in the south, Augustine Ha Ton Vinh, a senior advisor to leading international gaming companies, told Yogonet.
The trial period for the Van Don and Phu Quoc IRs will be for a period of three years. In addition to the four IR’s already approved, Van Don, South Hoi An, Ho Tram, and Phu Quoc, the top leaders have indicated they will consider adding two more, in Hue and Cam Ranh Bay, both in central Vietnam, Vinh added.
Augustine Ha Ton Vinh, chairman & CEO of Stellar Management Corp. and senior advisor to Van Don Special Economic Zone and Integrated Resorts. Photo: Yogonet
“The Politburo also expressed its willingness to allow smaller casinos to expand its operations provided that they meet financial investment requirements and help boost local economies and tourism,” Vinh noted.
The Ministry of Finance in a recent draft wanted to reverse course on its earlier plans to relax the longstanding ban on locals entering gaming facilities.
However, in the most recent draft of the gaming legislation, local residents aged more than 21 with no criminal record and who can prove a monthly salary of over $500 can enter those designated casinos.
Vietnam would impose a Singapore-style casino entry levy on local residents. One-time casino entry fees will be around $50 – about half of Singapore’s rate – while a monthly pass will cost around $1,100, Vinh tipped.
A new and booming gaming industry will significantly help boost foreign direct investment, improve local and regional tourism, and stem outflows of capital, Vinh said.
The Ministry of Finance is expected will release its approved final draft decree “possibly in the next few months.”