Vietnam to tighten law on casinos and money laundering

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

Vietnam authorities are working on a decree that would penalise casino operators without a licence or who are involved in money laundering.

Vietnam.- The Vietnamese government is seeking to tighten rules on money laundering rules and casinos that operate without a licence.

The Vietnam Ministry of Finance is working on a new decree that outlines penalties of up to VND200m if a casino operates without a certificate of eligibility.

The decree will also introduce fines of between VND40m and VND50m for casino operators that fail to report suspicious transactions as prescribed by law. It will also include fines of between VND90m and VND100m for organising or facilitating money laundering.

The Ministry of Finance said the government was committed to improving the efficiency of policy and law enforcement and seeks to improve the publicity and transparency of the gaming sector to protect the interests of gamblers.

In April, the Vietnam government released a conditional list of restricted sectors for foreign investment, which includes casinos.

The list includes 59 business sectors including the production, distribution and broadcasting of TV programmes and music, and the extraction and processing of natural resources alongside gambling and casinos.

A second list includes 25 types of business banned for foreign investors. Among them are press activities and information gathering in any form, tourism services (except for inbound tourism services for international visitors) and trading in goods and services subject to state monopoly.

The decree, which has already taken effect, specifies that foreign investors are treated as domestic investors in terms of market entry conditions when investing in business lines that are not mentioned in either of the two lists.

Vietnam economy to improve in the following months

Fitch Ratings has forecast that Vietnam’s GDP could continue to grow in 2021 despite ongoing Covid-19 countermeasures.

Among Asian countries, Vietnam’s economy was one of the few which could maintain positive growth in 2020 despite the pandemic’s impact on the domestic economic activity and tourism inflow.

Analysts have now revised their outlook from “stable” to “positive” due to the country’s success in bringing the Covid-19 outbreak under control.

Fitch Ratings forecasts Vietnam GDP will grow about 7 per cent in 2021 and 2022 in line with the normalisation of domestic economic activity despite a slow vaccination programme.

As for the gambling sector, in March casino operators asked the government to expand Vietnamese citizens’ access to casinos in major tourism destinations.

The request aimed 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.

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GAMBLING REGULATION land-based casino