Casino gambling is legal in Vietnam, but not for local residents. Casinos in Vietnam are attached to luxury resorts and are available only to foreign passport holders. But when last reported on Online.Gambling.org in March 2016, the prospect of Vietnamese citizens gambling in Vietnamese casinos was at least being discussed within the Ministry of Finance. Many took this as a very positive sign and a local industry watcher, CEO of Stellar Management, Augustine Vinh, even predicted that three new large-scale resort casinos would be built within four years and would be open to foreigners and Vietnamese citizens alike.
Now comes word that the Ministry of Finance is stepping up the time-frame for local residents to have access to casinos. According to Stellar Management CEO Vinh, “the government has decided to allow Vietnamese to enter two designated integrated resorts, one on Van Don Island, Ha Long Bay, in the North and the other on Phu Quoc island in the South.”
The Ministry is considering this as an experiment that will run for approximately three years in order to gauge the impact on society.
Although not officially announced by the Ministry of Finance, some details of the most recent draft of Vietnam’s gaming legislation have emerged. Casino access will be restricted for residents over 21 years of age. They cannot have a criminal record and must prove a monthly salary of over US $500. Family members of those seeking access to a casino can petition gaming regulators to deny access if they can prove that the individual’s gambling would adversely harm the family. Depending on how you look at it, either as a deterrent to gambling or as a way to garner more tax revenue, locals will be charged a casino entry fee of $50 or a monthly pass of $1,100.
Further details of the gaming legislation for casinos will cover licensing. A two-tiered system will be introduced, one tier to cover an investment commitment for integrated resort casinos of greater than $2 billion and a second tier to cover smaller casinos with investments of under $2 billion. A casino license will be granted for a 20 year period with a 10 year extension, once the initial investment figure is satisfied. For each $10 million invested, the casino operator will be allowed one gaming table and ten electronic gaming machines. The investment figure of $2 billion for licensees is conjecture at this point, because previously the government had established an investment figure of $4 billion.
It is expected that the Ministry of Finance will publish its final gaming legislation draft within the next few months.