Casinos open, but Vietnamese find it difficult to gain admission

The government has finally allowed Vietnamese to gamble at casinos. However, because of strict requirements set by the watchdog agency, it will be not easy for locals to enter casinos.

From March 15, 2017, Vietnamese citizens will have the right to play at casinos licensed by the government. However, they must be 21 years old or above with "full capacity for civil acts of individuals" according to Vietnamese law, have proof of regular monthly income of VND10 million (US$450), and be subjected to third-degree taxation according to the law on individual income tax.

The admission ticket is VND1 million (US$45) for 24 hour entry, or VND25 million (US$1,126) per person monthly. 

Nguyen Hoang Hai, deputy chair of the Vietnam Association of Financial Investors (VAFI), warned that players would find it troublesome to follow procedures to prove their income.

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“There would be no problem for employees to prove their income, but it would be difficult for businessmen and freelancers to do this,” Hai said, adding that it is unclear what documents people have to show.

According to the Ministry of Finance, about 70% of taxpayers are subject to first- degree taxation. The people subject to third-degree taxation are those with net monthly income of VND10-VND18 million.

Hai said that strict requirements would not attract players. Meanwhile, in Singapore, the requirements on players at Marina Bay Sands are not too complicated: people just need to pay the daily fee of SGD100 (VND1.6 million), or SGD2,000 a year (VND32 million).

Meanwhile, the gambling limit of VND1 million for 24 hours is described as ‘too low’ which cannot satisfy players. Ngo Thanh P, a young businessman in Hanoi, said the low limit would not attract real high-income earners. If so, the goal of increasing revenue from tax collection would be unattainable.

The owner of a privately run business in Hanoi also said that the low gambling limit would keep successful businessmen and rich people away.

“VND25 million a month won’t be able to satisfy them. They would rather go gambling abroad than go to domestic casinos,” he said. 

However, opinions about the issue vary. Ha Ton Vinh, an expert on casinos, while agreeing that it is a right decision to open casinos to Vietnamese, stressed that it is necessary to control them strictly.

In the Republic of Korea, there are 17 licensed casinos, but only Kangwon Land is opened to domestic players. The casino is located in a remote area, hundreds of kilometers from Seoul. In Nepal and Cambodia, casinos are open only to foreigners.


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