Survey in HCMC and Hanoi suggests people don't consider casinos to be overly harmful to Vietnamese society.
Vietnamese people seem to be adopting a more liberal view of casinos according to a report on gambling released on September 30 by the Institute of Regional Sustainable Development under the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences (VASS).
From surveying people in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, attitudes appear to have become quite open. Thirteen per cent of respondents had been to a casino, 76.9 per cent said they view casinos as simply a gambling venue, and 35 per cent believe casinos are only for the wealthy.
Some 47.8 per cent said Vietnamese people should be permitted to enter casinos while only 16 per cent believe they should not.
Meanwhile, 29.3 per cent of respondents said that casinos attract social problems, 16.5 per cent said they are just a place to spend free time, and 8.5 per cent said they were somewhere to build a social network. In particular, 70.7 per cent believe a large number of Vietnamese people would go to casinos if they were allowed to by the government.
The research team proposed there be specific and complete policies adopted and an agency created to manage the gambling sector in general and casinos in particular.
The team also proposed the government pilot a proposal permitting Vietnamese people to enter casinos in certain major cities. The government should also issue specific regulations to reduce any negative effects, by controlling the age of gamblers entering and conducting financial checks on those who wish to gamble.
Gambling in Vietnam is currently divided into legal and illegal gambling, the report noted. There are 64 lottery companies in the country, eight casinos, two sports betting sites, and 43 electronic gaming venues. Only foreigners are allowed to gamble at casinos and electronic gaming venues.
According to the Ministry of Finance, legitimate gambling contributes significantly to the State budget. Lotteries, for example, earned VND64 trillion ($2.85 billion) in revenue last year and contributed VND20 trillion ($890 million) to the State budget. Casinos, meanwhile, earned VND1.38 trillion ($61.4 million) and contributed VND336 billion ($14.95 million).