Vietnam government mulling changes to current casino laws

TAGs: van don economic zone, Vietnam

vietnam-sports-betting-national-assemblyIn what could be tantamount to an eyebrow-raising about-face that harken back memories of Sammy Sosa’s sudden ineptitude in English, the Vietnam government could reverse its decision on whether to allow local residents to enter casinos.

The new development was brought to public attention by the country’s Ministry of Finance courtesy of a document sent to the National Assembly Standing Committee a few weeks ago. According to the said parchment, or whatever form it came in, the Politburo had approved in principle the construction of an integrated casino and resort in the Van Don Economic Zone in the northern province of Quang Ninh.

An equally important note from that document was the government’s willingness to discuss the issue of allowing local citizens to enter the soon-to-rise casino in Van Don.

By the mere example of expressing openness in studying this option shows that the government may be coming to grips with the realization that the best way to take advantage of its burgeoning casino industry is to open the business for locals, even if it happens on just one casino at the moment.

It’s certainly not helping the government’s cause that Vietnamese citizens have expressed a certain proclivity to gambling, although all of them resort to going abroad to have participate in having that casino itch scratched because of the current ban on its own country.

“Whether or not to allow Vietnamese citizens to participate in casino gaming in Vietnam is a decision for the relevant authorities, industry insider Colin Pine told VietNamNet Bridge. “But given the trends in casino gaming internationally and in the immediate region and given the realities of Vietnamese citizens travelling abroad to participate in casino gaming, it is not unreasonable for this issue to be considered.”

What’s certain is Vietnam has a growing casino industry – it already has five casinos in operation with two more under construction. Should the planned resort and casino in Van Dom get the official green light, that’s going to be at least eight casinos in operation in the next few years. Having all these gambling options and not having locals play in it sounds like wasting away precious revenue opportunities that could be put to good use by the country.

Reversing on its decision to now allow locals to enter its casinos could also generate more interest from foreign operators like Genting and Las Vegas Sands, both of whom expressed interest in building their own casinos in the country but ultimately balked at proceeding in large part due to its current hamstrung  policy.

In the end, this decision will ultimately come down to what the Vietnam government will prioritize in the long run. Uphold its current law and bank on a rush of foreign gamblers coming into its shores, or open its casino doors to locals so that they won’t have to go elsewhere to gamble their money away.

Sounds like an easy choice to us.


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