Vietnam mulls legalising casinos

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Asia casinoThe Vietnam government and the country’s top tycoons are exploring ways to profit from legalising domestic casinos in a push to create jobs and boost tourism and tax revenue, Reuters reported.

The move could lure billions of dollars of investment from major gaming firms, according to two sources with close knowledge of affairs of the National Assembly, which is due to debate the issue.

The sources, who requested anonymity, said the government had already undertaken research and was planning a pilot project that allows local punters to gamble, starting at a yet-to-be built casino on Van Don island near China.

Vietnamese are passionate gamblers, from clandestine card games to bets on European soccer with underground bookies, but the handful of casinos operating in the country now are strictly foreigners-only.

A change in legislation could make Vietnam an attractive bet for big gaming companies such as Las Vegas Sands, Genting Bhd, Nagacorp and Penn National Gaming, which have quietly expressed interest, should locals be allowed to take part.

The appeal is much to do with Vietnam’s demographics and its location, just a few hours from many Asian capitals and within easy reach of wealthy Chinese, who provide the lion’s share of gaming revenue, Vietnam also has appealing demographics.

Two-thirds of the country’s fast-growing population of 90 million are under the age of 30, and it has a consumer middle class that’s expected to double by 2020, according to a recent report by the Boston Consulting Group.

Industry executives say that if it does loosen laws on gambling Vietnam could become a regional casino hub, with the potential to make annual gaming revenues of $3 billion. That’s about half of Singapore’s 2013 revenue but 10 times that of Cambodia and on par with the Philippines and South Korea, according to official and company data.

Meanwhile, Cambodia’s casino industry shows healthy business. NagaCorp, Cambodia’s largest casino operator, reported profits of more than $140 million in 2013, according to a statement on February 12 that also detailed plans for the rest of this year. Total revenue for the casino firm rose 24 percent from 2012 to $344 million, according to the statement. The company also aims to establish chartered flights between the gambling hub in Macau and Phnom Penh in an effort to bolster the VIP market.

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

The Vietnam government and the country’s top tycoons are exploring ways to profit from legalising domestic casinos in a push to create jobs and boost tourism and tax revenue, Reuters reported.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Asia casinoThe Vietnam government and the country’s top tycoons are exploring ways to profit from legalising domestic casinos in a push to create jobs and boost tourism and tax revenue, Reuters reported.

The move could lure billions of dollars of investment from major gaming firms, according to two sources with close knowledge of affairs of the National Assembly, which is due to debate the issue.

The sources, who requested anonymity, said the government had already undertaken research and was planning a pilot project that allows local punters to gamble, starting at a yet-to-be built casino on Van Don island near China.

Vietnamese are passionate gamblers, from clandestine card games to bets on European soccer with underground bookies, but the handful of casinos operating in the country now are strictly foreigners-only.

A change in legislation could make Vietnam an attractive bet for big gaming companies such as Las Vegas Sands, Genting Bhd, Nagacorp and Penn National Gaming, which have quietly expressed interest, should locals be allowed to take part.

The appeal is much to do with Vietnam’s demographics and its location, just a few hours from many Asian capitals and within easy reach of wealthy Chinese, who provide the lion’s share of gaming revenue, Vietnam also has appealing demographics.

Two-thirds of the country’s fast-growing population of 90 million are under the age of 30, and it has a consumer middle class that’s expected to double by 2020, according to a recent report by the Boston Consulting Group.

Industry executives say that if it does loosen laws on gambling Vietnam could become a regional casino hub, with the potential to make annual gaming revenues of $3 billion. That’s about half of Singapore’s 2013 revenue but 10 times that of Cambodia and on par with the Philippines and South Korea, according to official and company data.

Meanwhile, Cambodia’s casino industry shows healthy business. NagaCorp, Cambodia’s largest casino operator, reported profits of more than $140 million in 2013, according to a statement on February 12 that also detailed plans for the rest of this year. Total revenue for the casino firm rose 24 percent from 2012 to $344 million, according to the statement. The company also aims to establish chartered flights between the gambling hub in Macau and Phnom Penh in an effort to bolster the VIP market.

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