Vietnam: casinos’ request to expand locals’ access goes unheard

Vietnamese citizens are only permitted to enter two casinos.
Vietnamese citizens are only permitted to enter two casinos.

In March casino operators in Vietnam asked the government to ease the rules on locals entering casinos, but the government has made no response.

Vietnam.- In March casino operators asked the government to expand Vietnamese citizens’ access to casinos in major tourism destinations such as Quang Nam and Ba Ria-Vung Tau to help casinos face the loss of revenue from tourists owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, two months on the government has not yet responded to casino operators.

At present, Vietnamese citizens are only permitted to enter two casinos: one on the southern island of Phu Quoc and the other in Van Don, in the northern province of Quang Ninh.

The government has tight restrictions on who can enter the properties: players must be aged over 21 and earn a minimum of VND$10m (US$430) a month. Players must also have no criminal record and no objections from their families.

Saponti Baroowa, associate director of business intelligence at Dezan Shira & Associates in Ho Chi Minh City, said: “The government’s main concern would be not to expose the local population to potential social risks from gambling.

“I do not think there will be a significant shift in government policy in the near term.”

According to local media, before the Covid-19 pandemic, Vietnam saw 18 million visitors in 2019, an increase of 16 per cent year-on-year.

The country has great potential appeal for foreign investors but strict government requirements are limiting that.

Bernstein Research analysts said: “If you have a multi-billion dollar property without a local market there’s no way it works.”

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Covid-19 land-based casino