Vietnam gives in-principle approval to slot machine installation at international airports

The prime minister of Vietnam has given an in-principle green light to the installation of slot machines in designated areas at international airports for passengers transiting or leaving the country

Passengers hold their children at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi.

The Vietnamese government last week approved in principle the installation of slot machines in isolated areas at international airports for foreign and overseas Vietnamese passengers transiting or leaving the country.

According to an announcement of the Government Office on Friday last week, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung concluded that local firms would offer the gambling service in designated areas of airports under the management of the Airports Corporation of Vietnam.

The service will be offered to foreign and overseas Vietnamese passengers who are transiting via those airports, or are about to leave the Southeast Asian country, to meet their demand and improve the quality of service at the terminals.

The Ministry of Finance was tasked with pooling and explaining the opinions of the prime minister, other deputy prime ministers, and the leaders of related ministries in a draft decree so that it could be submitted to the central government for consideration and final approval.

Gaming machines have become familiar utilities at some airports in the world for passengers to use while they are waiting for delayed or canceled flights, the finance ministry said.

However, under current law, Vietnamese people living in Vietnam are not allowed to gamble anywhere in the country.

According to the finance ministry, the country has 43 points offering electronic gaming machines and eight casinos, all for foreigners and foreign passport holders.

Revenue from casinos in 2014 reached VND1.38 trillion (US$60.72 million), of which VND336 billion ($14.78 million) was paid as tax to the national budget.

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