A beach resort in Vietnam’s Thua Thien Hue province is once again pressing the government to allow it to operate a casino on the premises.
This week, Vietnamese media outlet Vnexpress reported that the Ministry of Planning and Investment was urging Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc to permit the Laguna Lăng Cô resort to add a casino by the year 2021. In exchange, the property would be required to accelerate its timeline for completing all phases of the resort from 2030 to 2026.
As part of this request, the Ministry urged the PM to authorize an increase in the Laguna project’s total investment capital from $875m to $2b, which is the minimum threshold required for international resort projects to offer casino gambling.
Vietnam Investment Review reported that the resort’s casino hoped to launch by 2021 with “500 electronic gaming machines and 50 card shufflers.” By 2029, the casino hopes to expand to 2k machines and 200 card shufflers. The project’s developers have also pledged to add six five-star hotels and 2,218 “villas and apartments.”
Singapore-listed developer Banyan Tree Holdings, which operates a hotel at the Laguna property, has spent years lobbying the government to add a casino to the resort. Banyan Tree reps met with the Prime Minister at the resort on January 1, while the PM met with provincial officials the following day.
The identity of the casino operator wasn’t disclosed in the reports, but last July, the Provincial People’s Committee announced that it had partnered with US casino operator Hard Rock International to operate a casino on the property, if and when permission was forthcoming.
Last month, the government’s long-promised three-year trial of allowing Vietnamese citizens to gamble in casinos officially got underway, although the two casinos the government has selected to participate in the trial aren’t yet ready to welcome guests.
Regardless, the confirmation earlier this year that the trial would go forward has been a positive boon for attracting investment capital, as evidenced by the flurry of new integrated resort projects confirmed over the past year or so.