Casino bussiness is allowed in a hotel-amusement complex on Vietnam's largest island Phu Quoc. Photo by Shutterstock/Visualize Creative
The People’s Committee of Kien Giang Province announced that the Prime Minister has approved in principle the casino’s inclusion in a hotel-amusement being built on the southern province's island.
With the casino business, total investment in the complex will increase to VND50 trillion (US$2.14 billion).
The complex, which is under construction, is scheduled to start operating in 2021. Its main investor is the Phu Quoc Tourism Investment and Development Jsc, a company in which Vingroup, Vietnam’s largest private conglomerate, holds a 50% stake.
The casino project is part of a pilot program that would allow Vietnamese citizens to gamble in casinos in the country for the first time.
For decades, Vietnam has banned gambling as a social evil. Vietnamese were also prohibited from gambling in the few casinos that have been built in the country.
Shifting its stance, the government has allowed citizens over 21 years old with a monthly income of at least VND10 million (US$445) to gamble in local casinos from last March under a three-year pilot program. However, the casinos have to obtain approval from the government on a case-by-case basis to allow Vietnamese citizens to use their services.
Vietnam's average annual income was around US$2,200 last year.
There are fewer than 10 casinos in Vietnam, mostly smaller ones outside major cities. Their services are reserved exclusively for foreign passport holders.