Vietnam could become a Casino Hub

In a bold move to attract major gambling operators and develop casinos throughout their country, the Vietnamese government is considering relaxing their gambling laws. If they do, analysts predict that the Asian country could generate $3 billion a year as a regional casino hub.

Under laws that are currently in place, a number of casinos are allowed to let foreign visitors gamble but Vietnamese nationals cannot. The Vietnamese government is currently researching ways to make changes to their laws along with a pilot project that will allow gambling by its citizens which may open up the online avenues with companies such as M88 and Sbobet.

 

One of the main reasons that the political leaders of Vietnam are considering these changes is, as you might expect, monetary. Simply put, they are seeing massive revenues being drained off by illegal bookmaking operations as well as offshore websites and, since there’s a ban on gambling at home, millions of Vietnamese are crossing the border into Cambodia to gamble in the casinos located there. Unfortunately, they are also hearing stories about nationals who, after going into massive gambling debt, are either selling off all their property to pay for it or being kidnapped and held for ransom.

“If locals are barred from gambling at home, they will just find other avenues in Cambodia, Macau, or Hong Kong,” Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan, deputy speaker of the National Assembly - Vietnam legislature - said at the meeting debating a bill on betting and gambling last August. Locals should be allowed to gamble in casinos in Vietnam to “prevent the outflow of foreign currency," Ngan, also a Politburo member said, “and there is a pressing need to regulate that.”

Another reason for the proposed changes is simply that the Vietnamese economy has been underperforming as of late and the country vitally needs the investment that casinos and their billions of dollars will bring. 90% of the lawmakers in the country are party members of the National Assembly, and they’re set to vote on the bill sometime soon. For that reason Vietnam is in the sights of many international casino developers, especially as Asia grows into one of the biggest gambling markets in the world and the gambling infrastructure in the United States simultaneously continues to stagnate.

In the last few years there have actually been quite a number of investors who’ve showed interest in Vietnam but, because of the tough barriers of entrance, all ended up pulling out. However, with a population of over 90 million people ready to start playing, lifting the ban on local gambling should be just the thing needed to woo some of these investors back.

There are a number of stipulations however, including the fact that any investor looking to operate a casino in Vietnam needs to be able to invest at least US$4 billion, will have to build a large-scale integrated resort and must have at least 10 years’ experience operating casinos.