The draft decree on casino management that Vietnam’s Finance Ministry submitted to the National Assembly Standing Committee last October 8 has drawn the ire of a lot of people. Now, you can include hoteliers to that list.
According to the Viet Nam News, hoteliers have voiced their displeasure to the new draft decree crafted by the country’s Finance Ministry, which will only allow foreigners and overseas Vietnamese holding foreign passports to enter the casinos. But closer to the hoteliers’ hearts – or their bottom line – is another wrinkle in the new decree that will only allow five-star hotels to open casinos. Compare that to the current regulations where four-star hotels in Ho Chi Minh City and three-star hotels in other cities are allowed to have casinos and you can tell why there’s such a huge outcry over this new decree.
Dang Huy Hai, the deputy general director of the New World Hotel, said that the government should re-think its idea of allowing casinos only at five-star hotels, explaining that there are no major differences between a five-star hotel and a four-star hotel both in facilities and service quality. Hai also added that the government should be a little more welcoming and liberal to the idea of casino services and not put too much of a handcuff on interested international developers because of the abundant revenues it could potentially generate to the economy.
It’s no secret that the proposed decree does offer foreign casino investors a chance to set up shop in the country. But such offers come with multiple caveats, including a condition wherein investors should have at least $4 billion of capital AND 10 years of experience in tourism management before they can even think about opening up a casino in the country. On top of that, investors will only receive a license to operate the casino when they can show a completed construction of a “tourism, service and entertainment complex” where the casino will eventually rise.
Granted, the conditions aren’t too shellacking that it will dissuade any and all investors from thinking about the idea of setting up shop in Vietnam. But there’s room for improvement, or at least a compromise where all parties involved can get on board with. To their credit, the Standing Committee of the National Assembly entered sessions earlier this month, debating revisions to the country’s laws on electronic gambling. Although, it’s a separate legislation that covers jackpot and slot machines in hotels, it does provide a semblance of optimism that future discussions could be made regarding revisions made on the draft decree the county’s Finance Ministry submitted earlier this month.
There’s always a solution; the only thing needed is people sitting down and talking about it.