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South Korean investor still keen on Vinh Phuc racetrack

Released at: 10:31, 20/09/2016

South Korean investor still keen on Vinh Phuc racetrack

Photo: Le Toan

Company tells province of plan to raise investment capital in horse racetrack to $1.5 billion.

by Hong Nhung

South Korea’s G.O.Max I&D Company is pursuing its project to build a horse racetrack in northern Vinh Phuc province, meeting with local authorities recently to propose an increase to its investment capital despite delays to a legal framework on gambling.

Mr. Bui Minh Hong, Chief of the Secretariat at the Vinh Phuc Provincial People’s Committee, told VET that the investor has applied to increase its investment capital from $570 million to $1.5 billion and received a positive reception.

“Many things have changed over a long period of time so we have to establish a new investment plan for the project,” Mr. Jung Young Jin, G.O.Max’s Management and Strategy Director, was quoted as saying.

The project will be an international racecourse and sports and entertainment complex and include the racetrack, a 72-hole golf course, a sports and entertainment area, an equestrian center and polo club, and housing and villas, located on 750 ha.

The racetrack will cover around 200 ha, with race meetings held three times a week, and stables and training paddocks will also be built. The company also hopes to open 70 betting shops in 54 cities and provinces around the country and open online gambling sites.

“Not everyone can come to the racetrack to gamble so locating betting shops in other cities and provinces and providing online gambling are needed to ensure revenue for the project,” Mr. Jung said.

G.O.Max, he went on, plans to mobilize 85 per cent of the investment capital from partners and financial investors. Construction will be completed after 36 months and will bring in annual revenue of about $972 million within the first five years. State budget contributions will be around $100 million per year.

The project is the largest racetrack complex to be proposed in Vietnam. G.O.Max first submitted a proposal to Vinh Phuc province in 2005, when investment was put at $570 million. It was then submitted to related authorities and received widespread support but the greatest obstacle then and now is the absence of gambling laws.

“At that time we received information from the Ministry of Finance that the government was drafting a decree on the sports gambling business and that we must wait,” Mr. Jung said.

“We will continue to wait for the decree and guidelines from the government. G.O.Max will maintain its relationships with the project’s investors and strategic partners so we are ready to restart.”

Many similar projects involving gambling are also waiting. The decree’s drafters are still consulting the public and related ministries.

The content of most interest is who can gamble and the betting level. The betting shops would operate in a similar way to computerized lottery agencies, which are legal. Gamblers may also be permitted to bet over the phone, but must open a bank account to do so.

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