Overseas Investors Look Forward To Revised Gaming Laws In Vietnam
Stakeholders in Vietnam’s casino industry are keenly waiting for the government to announce the passing of the revised draft law on the country’s gaming industry. The decree is expected to introduce major changes in the provisions which are likely to make industry more attractive to investors.
Two casino development projects that were recently kicked off have triggered renewed interest in the government’s decree.
The $4-billion South Hoi An resort located in the central coastal province of Quang Nam conducted its groundbreaking ceremony in April 2016. An agreement for the expansion of the $4.2-billion Grand Ho Tram Strip located in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau was also signed last week.
The Laguna Lăng Cô resort situated in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue has also indicated that it will be introducing gambling facilities into its resort. According to project estimates, the casino would contribute almost $23 million per year in revenue to the Vietnamese government.
Laguna Lăng Cô
The draft decree was released in 2009 and analysts have suggested several changes in order encourage further investment from international casino operators into the country’s gambling industry. The current gaming law does not allow local residents to play in casinos, limiting entry to only foreigners. Operators are pushing to remove this restriction as it will have a significant impact on the revenue generated by Vietnamese casinos. Similarly the minimum investment level is currently set at $4 billion which has been deemed as too much by industry analysts.
According to recent reports, the investment level is likely to be lowered to $2 billion which would attract a lot more investment into the casino industry and also evoke the interest of top international operators. There would however be a condition that at least half of the investment, which will be a minimum of $1 billion is to be released before the construction of the casino.
In a statement, Philip Falcone, principal of Harbinger Capital Partners, the majority shareholder of The Grand Ho Tram Strip said,
The Vietnamese government is taking the right steps to make sure that if a decision [on the casino business] is made, then the framework is the right one. The government has clearly not rushed into anything and we understood that was the case and we were willing to take the risk.
Augustine Ha Ton Vinh, Stellar Group CEO and advisor to the Vietnamese government on these new amended gaming laws has indicated that the decree would be issued during the first half of 2016.
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