In this interview with CalvinAyre.com’s Stephanie Raquel, Augustine Vinh of Stellar Management tells us what makes Vietnam a perfect gambling investment destination.
Asia-Pacific economies have been playing a game of tug-of-war for gambling investments for the longest time. They played second fiddle to Macau in terms of gambling growth for the longest time due to the former Portuguese enclave’s proximity to mainland China where most of VIP high rollers came from.
That changed in 2015 when Chinese President Xi Jingping launched an anti-corruption crackdown against government officials, which greatly affected the influx of high rollers to Asia’s premier gaming hub. Most Chinese VIP players fled away from Macau and into the nearby Asia-Pacific gaming hubs, including Vietnam.
Augustine Vinh of Stellar Management said Vietnam government both recognizes the importance of the gambling industry to Vietnamese economy and the stiff competition it faces from other Asia-Pacific economies.
To stay ahead of the game, Vinh pointed out that the Vietnam has taken several steps that will support the gambling industry in the Southeast Asian country. He said that the country is finally opening up to the idea of allowing locals to play in casinos as its way of expressing its support to the gaming industry.
The Vietnamese government is also studying proposals to harness the profitability of ships that allow small casinos.
“The leadership in the country had made it very clear that it supports the opening up of the gaming industry by allowing Vietnamese to play in integrated resorts in the North Vendong Special Economic Zone and the one in the south PhuQuoc,” Vinh told CalvinAyre.com. “In addition, the party decided that the four integrated resorts in the north central Vietnam and the south, we added two more in the list. So very soon, you will six integrated resorts in Vietnam. On top of that, there are two more under consideration. By the time we see everything in place and operational, you have eight integrated resorts.”
Aside from adapting pro-gambling policies, Vinh also noted that Vietnam has ramped up its infrastructure spending to support the influx of foreign tourists to the country.
“There are a lot of projects like in Vendong, will see a new international airport, serving one integrated resort, and we’ll see a number of highways connecting the integrated resorts to the Chinese border and to the metropolitan area. In two years or less, you’ll see a lot of activities,” he said.
When asked whether Vietnam will heed to the call of gambling operators to slash the tax imposed to them, Vinh doesn’t see it happening soon.
“At this time, as I know, a lot of government officials say that Macau is a big market and Macau has a very high tax so they will see, they have to see whether they have to lower the taxes but at this time, they keep the taxes at about 35 to 39 percent. They may lower the tax in the future if investors don’t come in as expected.”