After a prolonged delay, work on Vietnam’s second integrated resort casino is expected to commence later this month.
On Tuesday, Vietnamese officials announced that the developers behind the Nam Hoi An Casino Resort in the UNESCO heritage city of Hoi An in Quang Nam province would break ground on the $4b project’s first phase starting April 23.
The project is a joint venture of Vietnamese investment banking firm VinaCapital, Hong Kong-based retailer Chow Tai Fook Enterprises and Macau junket operator SunCity Group. Chow Tai Fook is the lead partner in the JV, having acquired VinaCapital’s majority stake last September, although VinaCapital announced on Tuesday that it would boost its stake from 22.5% to 32%.
The first phase of the Nam Hoi An project is tipped to cost $500m, covering 160 hectares of ground with an expected completion date of Q1 2019. The project will join the Ho Tram Strip resort as the only other integrated resort in Vietnam offering high-end gambling to international tourists.
It’s taken a while for the Nam Hoi An resort to get to this stage, having originally been licensed way back in 2010. However, VinaCapital’s original JV partner, Genting Malaysia, dropped out of the project in 2012 after deciding that the government’s demand for a minimum $4b investment threshold was too steep considering the property’s gaming options wouldn’t be accessible by local residents.
Chow Tai Fook, known primarily as a jewelry retailer, has been aggressively seeking out diversification via new casino projects. The company has a stake in The Star Entertainment Group’s $3b resort casino project in Brisbane and has made noise about building its own $2.6b resort casino in South Korea’s Incheon region.