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Vietnamese permitted to enter casinos

Released at: 18:30, 23/01/2017

Vietnamese permitted to enter casinos

Photo: Viet Tuan

Government decree provides for three-year trial of local people gambling at the country's casinos.

by Hong Nhung

Vietnamese citizens will be allowed to gamble at the country’s casinos on a three-year trial under Decree No. 03/2017/ND-CP issued by the government recently.

The government will review and evaluate the trial and decide whether it will become a permanent policy.

Vietnamese citizens must be at least 21 years old to enter casinos, earn a regular monthly income of at least VND10 million ($450), and be subject to taxation from Level 3 or higher as determined by the Law on Personal Income Tax.

Entry to casinos will cost VND1 million ($43) per person for 24 hours or VND25 million ($1,110) per month. Gambling and payouts are in VND.

Income from ticket sales will be used to fund social welfare objectives, serve the community, and ensure security and social order.

According to the Decree, enterprises involved in the casino business must develop regulations to ensure the management and strict control of Vietnamese people gambling at casinos.

Enterprises are also required to issue electronic cards to Vietnamese players, with their name, identity card or passport number, photo, time of arrival and departure, amount gambled, and amount won, if any, recorded.

Authorities have confirmed that the casino business is a conditional field where only certified and qualified businesses are allowed to participate. Involvement in the casino business must be linked to the main business activities of enterprises, to promote the development of tourism and trade, diversify entertainment options, attract tourists, and ensure national security, social order and safety, ethics, and public health.

Casino entry has to date been strictly limited to foreigners and overseas Vietnamese.

The decree also loosens conditions on investment capital for businesses to obtain investment licenses for casino operations. The total capital required for a casino project has been trimmed down from $4 billion to $2 billion, with disbursed capital of at least $1 billion.

Drafting of the decree began in 2009 and has been the subject of controversy regarding whether the country should permit Vietnamese citizens to gamble at casinos.

Mr. Michael Kelly, Executive Chairman of the Ho Tram Project Company Limited, previously said that “Casinos are our second-biggest revenue maker after the hotel and resort businesses. Owning the largest casino venue in Vietnam, Ho Tram is waiting for the adoption of the decree to improve our casino business performance further.”

According to the latest Vietnam-Casino-Gambling-Market Report from Duane Morris Vietnam LLC, Vietnam has licensed seven businesses to operate casinos.

The government has also recently allowed the development of two large-scale casino projects in Van Don in northern Quang Ninh province and on Phu Quoc Island in the Mekong Delta’s Kien Giang province.

Regulations banning local people from playing at casinos have prompted them to gamble overseas, causing an estimated loss of $800 million annually in much-needed tax revenue.

A recent study by the Institute of Regional Sustainable Development (IRSD) showed that if foreign investment in casinos increases by $3 billion, Vietnam’s GDP would expand 0.58 per cent.

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