Nhip Cau Dau Tu quoted sources as reporting that Phu Quoc and Van Don had received permission to open local casinos to Vietnamese, while many investors also expressed their willingness to open casinos to improve their income.
There are many resorts with potential of opening casinos to Vietnamese, including the US$4 billion Nam Hoi An Resort developed by the joint venture of Vina Capital – Suncity Group – Chow Tai Fook, Laguna Lang Co project in Hue City, The Grand Ho Tram Strip in Vung Tau City and Cocobay Da Nang developed by Empire Group.
Earlier this year, the Quang Ninh provincial authorities approved FLC Faros Van Don’s project on developing a luxury entertainment complex in Van Don SEZ. The project, capitalized at US$2 billion, will comprise a casino.
For many years, Vietnamese have been going abroad to gamble as domestic casinos were not open to them. Prof Ha Ton Vinh, who has conducted research on Vietnam’s gaming industry, estimates that Vietnamese bring US$800 million every year to large casinos in the region, including Macau, Singapore and Cambodia.
At this moment, the focus is on three SEZs the government plans to build in the near future, namely Phu Quoc in Kien Giang, Bac Van Phong in Khanh Hoa and Van Don in Quang Ninh.
The casinos in the three SEZs are expected to enjoy big tax incentives.
Under the draft document compiled by MPI, the casinos in the SEZs would bear a luxury tax of 10% for 10 years, a preferential tax rate which aims to help attract tourists and investments.
The Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) has many times affirmed its view that Vietnam needs to open casinos.
“International practice shows that casinos can bring significant sources of revenue to the countries which develop casinos,” said Minister of MPI Nguyen Chi Dung.
“The late Singaporean PM Lee Kuan Yew said he made two mistakes in his political life and one of them was the disagreement on the opening of casinos. However, Singapore later changed this view,” Dung said.
According to the Ministry of Finance (MOF), by August 2017, Vietnam had licensed eight casinos, six of which are operational. However, to date, the casinos have been running at 1/3 of the licensed capacity, with 134 gaming tables and 995 machines.
Nguoi Lao Dong cited an SSI (Saigon Securities Incorporated) report as showing that the major source of income of casinos is from Chinese travelers.