There is excitement in the air as Vietnamese casino operators celebrate gains from 2019. It also permitted revenue generated from gambling to contribute to the state’s treasury. The Ministry of finance released reports showing income records from 8 different casinos running within the country last week. Within them, it could be seen that VND 2.5t (USD 107.4m) was generated in 2019. From this, VND1.3t was added to the country’s budget.
Gambling is still illegal in most Vietnam cases, although foreigners are permitted to gamble within local casinos. However, domestic gambling laws are seeing some loosening up, and so far, it seems to be beneficial to the country’s economy.
Huge Gains for Casinos in 2019
Revenue was up by 60% in 2019, which places it at about VND1.56t higher than that from 2018. Meanwhile, the 2018 figure was even 31% higher than that from 2017, which was the pioneer year for secure online gambling prohibitions being lifted. Out of the eight casinos, five are located in the North, one in the South, and two are central.
However, though there is a hike in combined revenue, it is not all the casinos that made gains. The largest casino within Quang Ninh – the Northern province, is Royal International Corporation. They experienced a 45% drop to USD4.2million. Aristo International Hotel Casino in Lao Cai, a border province, experienced a 17% dip to USD15.4million.
Vietnamese Government Is Giving Casino Operators a Chance
In January 2019, Corona Resort & Casino on Phu Quoc Island within Kien Giang province was chosen as the experimental subject. It drew in about 105,200 people within the year, and 45% were the country’s citizens. It is the only casino that can offer gambling services to Vietnamese people who are economically qualified. This permission is within a three-year pilot scheme.
Vietnamese citizens need to be a minimum of 21 years old and receive a monthly income of up to VND10 million. They would also need to pay and entrance levy to be allowed on casino premises. The next project that will enable indigenes to gamble within sight is expected to be stationed in Van Don, Northern Vietnam.
The Corona Resort & Casino posted a profit of VND108 billion ($4.67 million) before taxation within the first six months of operating. It generated an overall revenue of VND1.4t in the first six months. This made it contribute almost 60% of the total market. However, it was not clear whether this money was only from the casinos since they also offer hotel accommodation, food, and drinks.
Upffinity Gaming, a Netherlands-based company, was appointed by the Tourism Development and Investment commission of Phu Quoc was hired by Corona Resort & Casino for their management and advisory services. Their venue was designed by Steelman Partners LLP, a US company that has been involved in building several casinos within Asia.
Within Quang Ninh province is the Van Don Economic Zone, which houses the Sun Group’s casino project. So far, it has been approved for gambling, but this is only accessible to foreigners. The only hold up right now is that it is yet to be built and is not expected to be completely put together until 2029. The Group is even reluctant to begin construction until the government makes more concessions.
Casinos Are Seeking Relaxed Regulations
One of the main concessions the Sun Group wants is to have its project license lengthened from 50 to 70 years. The second thing they are bent on getting is relaxation of Vietnam’s minimum capital requirement for integrated resort development that is currently slotted at USD2Billion. And the Finance Ministry is paying these requests close mind.
The Ministry of Finance so far has proposed that casino sponsors who have triggered the building of major infrastructure in poorly developed areas like Van Don may deduct close to 25% of the money they have invested in that infrastructure from the minimum $2Billion. They are also planning to lift the $2Billion operators are required to invest in Vietnam before they are granted their gaming license.
In this particular case concerning the Sun Group, they have already spent a lot of money on projects. These include the construction of a linking highway and an International Airport. The Ministry also requested that the government allows casino operators more freedom with regards to the service advertisements. The Corona Casino is also trying to get permission to market its services on the island, out of its property’s boundaries. This is something that is currently not allowed.
Stricter Punishment for Gambling Regulation Defaulters
But before casino operators become too excited, the Finance Ministry also is sending requests to the government to let them execute stiffer punishments on any casinos that stray out of their new boundaries.