Continued delays on Vietnam’s sports betting decree will not stop a South Korean company from its plans to build a racetrack in the northern province of Vinh Phuc.
South Korea’s G.O.Max I&D has reportedly submitted a plan to Vinh Phuc authorities to increase its initial investment from $570 million to $1.5 billion, according to local media outlets.
G.O.Max plans to build an international racecourse and sports and entertainment complex on a 750-hectare land in Vinh Phuc. The project will include a 72-hole golf course, a sports and entertainment area, a racetrack, a sports and entertainment area, an equestrian center and polo club as well as housing and villas.
The racetrack alone will cover around 200 hectares, according to the company. If the project pushes through, G.O.Max plans to hold race meetings three times a week. The company hopes to operate online gambling sites and open at least 70 betting shops in 54 cities and provinces around Vietnam—if the decree on sports betting passes.
“Not everyone can go to the course to bet so it’s necessary to put betting points in other localities, and allow betting online in order to ensure revenue for the project,” said Jung Young Jin, strategy director for G.O.Max.
This isn’t the first time a racetrack complex is proposed in Vietnam, but G.O.Max’s project is certainly the largest. Reports surfaced back in July that the city of Hanoi is seeking investors to build a Formula 1 circuit in the capital of Vietnam.
G.O.Max and other investors, however, have their work cut out for them. Gambling, including sports betting, is largely illegal in Vietnam, except for a few foreigners-only casinos. The country has been considering relaxing its longstanding prohibition on sports betting but, while draft legislation has been written, progress towards passing that legislation remains glacially slow.
Finance officials tabled a proposal in August that would pave the way for the legalization of betting on certain international football matches, as long as the punters don’t go over the $45 daily betting limit.
Jung assured that they “will continue to wait for the decree and guidelines from the government” before starting on the project.