First it was just one casino, and when that opened up, it appears that provinces in Vietnam have begun to clamor for some more. Yes, people love to gamble, and communities like making money off of them. But as the country’s Minister of Planning and Investment Bui Quang Vinh is finding out, it’s not so easy to keep all the jostling for new casinos at arm’s length. The man is tired, people, or so he said recently at a workshop on institutional reform.
“I am now under a hard pressure that makes me too tired,” the minister told VietNamNet. “At first, only one casino project was suggested, but the number has risen to 10.”
Vinh pointed out how the opening of the country’s first integrated resort-casino, the The Grand – Ho Tram Strip, has spurred a mad rush from other provinces to have their own casinos, largely because they want to develop their own economies. It’s a prevalent Vietnamese attitude wherein one seed that blossoms causes more people planting their own seeds. It happened, according to VietNamNet Bridge, during the “seaport rush” and the “airport rush”, and now, as Vinh points out, it’s happening to casinos because “local authorities cannot think of any other way to make money”.
Over the past few months, interest has ran high from numerous directions. One, in particular, was Dao Hong Tuyen, who said last September that his Tuan Chau Group and its US partners hoped to build a casino in the Van Don Administrative Economic Zone in Quang Ninh province in the country’s northeast. Genting had a previous $4 billion proposal to build a resort and casino in the Chu Lai Economic Zone in south-central Quang Nam province. The Malaysian casino giant eventually passed on the chance because of the government’s refusal to relax its ban on allowing local residents to enter any of the country’s gambling establishments. But reports early this year indicate that the project has new life to it after the Quang Nam project’s local partner VinaCapital has reportedly found a new deep-pocketed international firm to revive the project. The name of the mystery investor hasn’t been divulged, but evidently, interest is still high on building a casino in that province.
Now, imagine the interest in the country if the government does relax its laws on banning locals to enter casinos. It drove Genting and Las Vegas Sands away, but if that rule is overturned, it’s reasonable to expect that interest will be there again. It doesn’t have to come from the major players, especially now that all of them seem to be gearing up for Japan, but from smaller operators who are looking to make an impression in the Asian gambling scene, more Vietnam casinos, especially with interest from provinces at an all-time high, could be on the table.
Should that turn up to be the case, minister Bui Quang Vin should to get as much rest as he can have.