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Investors keen on horse racetracks

Released at: 09:06, 14/07/2016

Investors keen on horse racetracks

Photo: Duc Anh

Talk of Da Nang racetrack the latest but legislation still to come.

by Hong Nhung

Hong Kong’s Matrix Holding Limited Company is planning to invest in a horse racetrack in central Da Nang city.

Ms. Huynh Lien Phuong, Deputy Director of Da Nang’s Investment Promotion Center, told VET on July 12 that “Matrix Holding set up plans to conduct research on a horse racetrack three months ago. It has not yet submitted registration documents to the city.”

The company has been waiting for a decree on gambling on horse and dog racing and international football matches, a draft of which was submitted to the government in June.

According to Ms. Phuong, Matrix Holding plans to establish an entertainment complex consisting of a racetrack, a healthcare unit, and gambling and amusement services in the city.

The total investment capital has not been announced, but it will be no less than $45 million, which is the minimum capital required under the draft decree. The timeline for completing a racetrack project is four years from being licensed.

According to the draft decree, gambling services can only be provided after investors have set up all necessary equipment. Investors will also be allowed to operate gambling shops in selected cities and provinces, with operations closely monitored by the Ministry of Finance (MoF).

The Australian Golden Turf Club Limited Company received an investment license last month for a $100 million investment in a horse racetrack in south-central Phu Yen province. It includes a grandstand, horse and dog racing tracks, and a high-class tourism area.

A number of racetrack projects have already been approved in Vinh Phuc, Long An, Binh Duong, and Lam Dong provinces. Some have since been suspended while others have seen no movement because the government has not yet issued regulations on gambling services.

For example, South Korea’s G.O.Max in 2007 proposed building a horse racetrack worth $570 million in the northern province of Vinh Phuc, northwest of Hanoi.

Gambling on horse and dog racing were allowed in two projects in Ho Chi Minh City and nearby Ba Ria Vung Tau province, but the horse racing track was closed in 2011 after seven years of operation. The two courses were invested in by the Thien Ma Company and the Sport Entertainment Services Company.

Gambling services are sensitive business fields. The government has taken many years to study the sector. At the end of June, ministerial leaders told an MoF meeting that the decree on gambling services for horse and dog racing and international football matches has been submitted to the government for approval.

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