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First casino allowed to serve local punters opens on Vietnam’s Phu Quoc Island

Monday, January 21, 2019, 16:12 GMT+7
First casino allowed to serve local punters opens on Vietnam’s Phu Quoc Island
People are seen during the opening day at Corona Casino on Phu Quoc Island off Kien Giang Province, southern Vietnam, January 19, 2019. Photo: Duy Khanh / Tuoi Tre

The first-ever casino in Vietnam that allows Vietnamese citizens to enter and wager was officially opened on the southern island of Phu Quoc last weekend, operating under a pilot scheme with several strict requirements for local punters to be eligible for entry.

Vietnamese nationals are required to present a document proving their monthly income is no less than VND10 million (US$430) to be permitted to enter Corona Casino, which was inaugurated as part of the Corona Resort & Casino complex on Phu Quoc, off the southern province of Kien Giang, on Saturday.

Punters of Vietnamese nationality may present a property lease agreement showing they make at least VND10 million ($430) from the rental a month, or a savings certificate proving they receive no less than VND10 million worth of monthly interest from their bank deposit.

Alternately, Vietnamese gamblers may choose to present a document saying their monthly salary matches the required threshold.

The local punters must also be at least 21 years of age, according to the government-backed pilot scheme that permits Vietnamese to gamble at the newly-opened casino for three years.

Vietnamese bettors are also required to pay a fee of VND1 million ($43) per 24-hour entry, with the casino operator required to contribute the proceeds to the provincial budget.

Corona Casino, daily operated by the Netherlands’ casino management firm Upffinity, which also runs casinos in Europe and Macau, got VND25 trillion ($1.07 billion) in the first phase of investment from its investors, and is expected to secure twice the amount in the second stage.

The establishment covers around 17,000 square meters – just over the size of two football pitches – and has 100 tables, 1,000 electronic gaming machines, three restaurants and two specialty bars and lounges, according to Upffinity.

The Corona Resort & Casino development also boasts five-star hotels with a combined 2,000 rooms, ten coastal resorts, a convention center, opera house, shopping mall, water park, shopping parade, safari park and golf course.

The complex promises to promote local tourism with new, high-class entertainment for locals and foreigners alike, said Upffinity CEO Daniel Kupsin, adding the casino industry makes significant contributions to the national coffers.

Before Corona Casino was opened, Vietnam had eight casino companies that collectively provided 408 tables and 4,579 electronic gaming machines legally, but gambling sites operated by these entities are only allowed to serve foreign punters, according to Tien Phong (Vanguard) newspaper.

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