Businesses in Vietnam have proposed that casinos at major tourist destinations be allowed to serve Vietnamese citizens as a way to help such a service cope with difficulties brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The proposal was submitted to the prime minister’s advisory council by the country’s casino business community on Thursday.
In the document, local casino businesses stated that the tourism industry has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic due to a sharp decrease in the number of foreign visitors.
To mitigate this problem, domestic tourism has been promoted.
However, local casinos have not benefited from these promotion plans because Vietnamese people are not allowed to enter these venues.
A circular of the Ministry of Finance previously allowed Vietnamese citizens to use services at local casinos on a trial basis, but no specific list of eligible casinos was issued.
Only two casinos in Phu Quoc, a tourist island off the southern province of Kien Giang, and Van Don, an island off the northern province of Quang Ninh, have been permitted to serve Vietnamese residents as part of the pilot program.
The trial began in January 2019 and would last for three years, before the finance ministry carries out a comprehensive review to make further decisions.
The casino business community asked the government to consider allowing this entertainment service at other major tourist destinations, such as central Quang Nam Province and southern Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province among others.
Allowing more casinos to serve Vietnamese people will enable the trial to achieve a more objective result, as well as support local businesses in coping with challenges caused by the pandemic.
In accordance with Vietnamese law, casinos are only permitted to serve foreigners or overseas Vietnamese with foreign passports.
In the pilot program, Vietnamese people who wish to enter and gamble in a casino must be at least 21 years of age, and have full capacity for civil acts in accordance with the provisions of Vietnamese law.
Vietnamese punters are also expected to prove a regular income of VND10 million (US$430) or more per month to play at a casino.