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Forbes: Casino developers still keen

Released at: 15:35, 24/07/2015

Forbes: Casino developers still keen

Magazine reports Laguna Lang Co the latest to seek permission to open a casino in Vietnam, at its existing development in the central region.

Vietnam keeps thinking big when it comes to casino development, according to Forbes.

Some of the biggest names in gaming, including MGM and Genting, have come to - and gone from - Vietnam, but new players keep emerging, apparently hoping Vietnam’s government will change its stance.

In May, Banyan Tree’s Laguna Lang Co resort in central Vietnam requested that concepts for a casino be included in the beachfront development’s second phase.

The resort, located about an hour by road north of Da Nang International Airport, has nearly 300 hotel rooms and villas plus a Nick Faldo-designed golf course, spas, residences, and a conference center. The second phase would include more hotel accommodation and residences and, if regulators allow it, a casino.

Laguna Lang Co timed its request with a specific timetable in mind. “The selection of a gaming operator is expected to coincide with the convening of the National Assembly in early 2016 and subsequent discussions about how to proceed with gaming and tourism development and the creation of a more robust regulatory regime and gaming licensing policy,” the developer said in a press release.

Currently, according to Forbes, Vietnam requires new casinos to be sited in integrated resorts (IR) and have total investment of $4 billion.

Besides restricting IR locations, Vietnam only allows entry to its casinos and electronic gaming parlors to people who hold a foreign passport, effectively barring the vast majority of its 90 million citizens. Sheldon Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands is among the gaming giants that have expressed interest in Vietnam, but only if local people can play.

Vietnam has also set a tax increase for January 1, raising the gaming levy from 30 per cent to 35 per cent, substantially higher than in Singapore, the Philippines, South Korea, and Cambodia.

For more than a year, gaming industry insiders have been expecting Vietnam to issue a casino decree that would codify its regulation of casinos.

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