The Hanoitimes - Previously, only foreign passport holders were allowed to gamble in the country`s 30 casinos and electronic gaming parlors.
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has issued decision No.1440 allowing a casino-integrated investment project in Phu Quoc, Vietnam’s largest island in the southernmost province of Kien Giang, and gives pilot permission for Vietnamese citizens to gamble in this casino.
The casino is part of a tourism and entertainment complex under the investment of Phu Quoc Tourism Development and Investment Company, in which Vingroup holds a 50% stake.
By integrating the casino business, total investment in the complex will increase to VND50 trillion (US$2.14 billion). The project is scheduled to start operation in 2021, according to the PM’s decision.
According to the Law on Investment, casino is a conditional business and needs approval from the prime minister.
In January 2017, the government issued Decree No.03 providing a legal framework for casino businesses took effect.
This was seen as the government's effort to step by step legalize casino businesses and grant permission for locals to play at casinos in a three-year pilot scheme. Previously, only foreign passport holders were allowed to gamble in the country's 30 casinos and electronic gaming parlors.
Meanwhile, Decree No.03 allows local Vietnamese citizens who are 21 or older and who have a regular income of at least VND10 million (US$441) per month to access and play at Vietnam-based casinos.
In order to access a casino in Vietnam, Vietnamese players must buy an entrance ticket at the cost of VND1 million (US$44) per 24 consecutive hours, or VND25 million (US$1,100) per month. The entire proceeds from ticket sales shall go to the provincial budget where the casino is located.
Recently, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has given permission for Laguna Lang Co in Thua Thien-Hue province to operate a casino, following a permission for the investor Bayan Tree Holdings (Singapore) to raise the project's investment capital to US$2 billion.
In 2016, the US$4-billion South Hoi An integrated casino resort located in the central province of Quang Nam started constructions through a collaboration among VinaCapital, Chow Tai Fook Enterprises (Hong Kong) and SunCity Group (Macau). The first phase of the project is expected to be launched by early 2019.
Once completed, it will be the second-largest casino in Vietnam after the Grand Ho Tram Strip resort and casino complex located in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau.
Additionally, there are other three billion-dollar casino projects in the pipeline in Van Don, Bac Van Phong and Phu Quoc, which will likely become the first three special economic zones (SEZs) in the country.
The National Assembly in June postponed a vote on a bill on the three SEZs due to concern over incentives and land lease period.