With the Vietnamese government recently revealing that local gamblers will be allowed to enter casinos on home soil in a three-year pilot scheme, a set of strict requirements they have to meet have been outlined in a draft decree.
At a meeting with the administration of the northern province of Quang Ninh in December, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said the government will pilot allowing local punters to enter casinos in the province’s Van Don District, and Phu Quoc Island off the southern province of Kien Giang.
These two casinos are still under construction, with no opening date confirmed so far, according to newswire VnExpress.
According to the draft decree, Vietnamese nationals who wish to gamble at those casinos have to meet four requirements at a time.
The punters first have to be at least 21 years of age, and have proof that their minimum monthly income is VND10 million (US$440).
As per the third requirement, local gamblers must afford an entrance fee of VND1 million ($44) per person per day, or VND25 million ($1,100) per person per month.
Lastly, the punters are only allowed to play if there are no official requests from their family members, including their parents, spouses, children, or even parents-in-law, that the casinos should not allow them to play.
Any person who is under legal prosecution or has a criminal record is not allowed to gamble at casinos, according to the bill.
News that Vietnamese will soon be allowed to enter local casinos has been greatly welcomed by some members of the tourism industry.
Professor Ha Ton Vinh, an academic who has extensively researched the gambling industry, said lifting the casino ban on locals will surely drive the economy of Quang Ninh and Kien Giang, where the gambling centers are located.
Vinh also said that every year, the country loses approximately US$800 million in tax return as thousands of Vietnamese have no choice but coming to neighboring countries for gambling.
According to the new regulation, foreign investors who would like to operate a casino in Vietnam are required to invest at least US$2 billion and have ten years of experience in the casino business. Previous requirement asked investors to have at least US$4 billion in capital.
Currently, Vietnam has four licensed casino complexes, including the Nam Hoi An in the central province of Quang Nam and the Ho Tram in the coastal province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau, besides the said venues in Quang Ninh and Phu Quoc.
Two other projects have received in-principle approval, whereas several venues have opened to foreign players for years, including Do Son in Hai Phong City and Aristo Hotel in the northwestern Lao Cai Province.