The cautious nation of Vietnam could be one of the countries that benefits from the increased expansion that will take place in the future across Asia. That’s according to Citi Group, who in a recent note to their clients wrote that with the region so under-served, the proposed new casino resorts in the aforementioned country, Cambodia and the Philippines will “generate renewed interest in the space.” They also added that, “While these markets will likely remain smaller than Singapore and even Malaysia, we sense they could provide better growth prospects over time, albeit with added country risk/limited liquidity”.
In Asia there are only around 199 licensed gambling venues to serve the ever-growing population that already stands at four billion people. This compares to the some 1,600 casinos in North America and 1,200 in Europe that serve a lot less of a population. In other words there is clearly a massive amount of growth ready to be tapped into outside of the two heavyweights of Macau and Singapore.
Looking back to Vietnam and the fact that they’re battling inflation and low banking confidence is one reason that casinos are being turned to. The country’s government has long railed against “social evils” such as unregulated gambling. The chance to make a sizeable amount of money from gambling may move the nation to regulate. Currently, gambling is restricted to foreigners at a small number of casinos.
New developments that are planned come in the form of the Asian Coast Development being funded by hedge fund Harbinger Capital. The two resorts are being built 80 miles south east of Ho Chi Minh City on the Ho Tram strip. MGM Resorts International will manage one and the MGM Grand will have a phased opening commencing in 2013. Pinnacle Entertainment will run the other venue and they will dwarf the country’s current casinos.
Asia is again showing why it’s the destination for gambling and will continue to be for many years to come.