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Mar 18, 2024 / 20:39

Casinos contribute US$370 million to state budget over 5 years

The number of Vietnamese gamblers is falling.

From 2017 to 2023, casinos contributed nearly VND9 trillion (US$370 million) to the state budget and employed 10,000 workers.

 Minister of Finance Ho Duc Phoc. Source: quochoi.vn

Minister of Finance Ho Duc Phoc revealed the figures during a Q&A session at the National Assembly today [March 18].

Phoc added that there are currently nine casinos operating nationwide, including six small and three large gambling establishments: Nam Hoi An (Quang Nam), Ho Tram (Ba Ria - Vung Tau), and Phu Quoc (Kien Giang). Two casino projects are under construction: one in Khanh Hoa and one in Thua Thien Hue. Another project in Van Don that is awaiting approval. Phoc noted a gradual decrease in the number of Vietnamese gamblers. "In the early years of the trial period at Phu Quoc casino, up to 69% of the players were Vietnamese. However, by 2023, only 39% were Vietnamese," Phoc said.

In 2016, the Politburo allowed Vietnamese to enter casinos in Phu Quoc and Van Don for a trial period, according to a Ministry of Finance report. Of the two, only the Phu Quoc casino project became operational in January 2019.

At  Phu Quoc casino, cumulative revenues from 2019 to 2023 reached VND6.4 trillion ($258.8 million), contributing VND3.67 trillion ($148.4 million) to the State budget.

In 2023 alone, the Phu Quoc casino reported VND2.18 trillion ($88.2 million) in revenues and contributed VND1.23 trillion ($49.7 million) to the state budget. These figures represent an improvement in 2022, with revenue increasing by 45.7% and state budget contributions rising by 68.9%. Notably, ticket revenues (for Vietnamese visitors) in 2023 amounted to over VND32.2 billion ($1.3 million), accumulating to VND242 billion ($9.8 million) from 2019 to 2023.

However, the Ministry of Finance also mentioned that despite the improved business results compared to 2022, the overall casino projects had cumulative losses of VND3.72 trillion ($150.5 million) due to significant initial depreciation expenses and interest payments.

Pushing for other forms of betting

Regarding the management of legal betting, Phoc stated that currently, in Vietnam, there are 93 slot machines in 5-star hotels. However, to be placed there, the enterprise must have a capital of VND500 billion ($20.2 million) or more, and must have an electronic equipment system and a professional team for supervision. These games are only accessible to foreigners. Betting has helped 5-star hotels achieve business results as well as solve labor issues.

Phoc mentioned that in betting, there are bets on football, horse racing, and dog racing are allowed, but have not been implemented yet. When implementing betting on football, the ministry is working on regulations for organizing tenders, and is encountering obstacles posed by the Bidding Law, he noted.

"We have recently included provisions on this issue in the amendment to the Bidding Law, and we need to continue to improve the legal framework to implement football betting. For horse racing and dog racing, investors need to build standardized racing stables, and have equipment, and professional labor, to ensure operation. This is a new type of betting, and the Ministry is weighing all the pros and cons for its introduction while preventing risks," said the Minister.

Phoc also said that while the Ministry of Planning and Investment is responsible for issuing investment licenses, the Ministry of Finance is responsible for completing the infrastructure to meet the requirements for betting licenses.