Laguna Lăng Cô beach resort, a tourism project in Vietnam’s Thua Thien-Hue province, on Monday announced that it has issued a request for concept (RFC) to develop an integrated entertainment project, “which would comprise a gaming complex”.
A spokeswoman for the project had confirmed to GGRAsia in July that at the time it was in the preliminary stages of applying for a gaming licence from the Vietnam authorities.
Laguna Lăng Cô (pictured) opened in April 2013 and was the first project in Vietnam to offer a Banyan Tree-branded hotel from Singapore-listed hotel and resort developer Banyan Tree Holdings Ltd. The resort is branded to the public as Banyan Tree Lăng Cô and is located north of Da Nang. It has an 18-hole golf course.
Banyan Tree Capital (BTC), the hotel group’s investment arm, will be overseeing the RFC process and has designated Global Market Advisors LLC as strategic procurement advisors, the company said in a press release.
The firm said it does not intend to be the operator of the proposed gaming venue “or in any way associated with the operations of these facilities”.
“This RFC process is to identify quality companies who can and will” operate the casino, said Banyan Tree Capital managing director Steve Small.
“The master plan is currently under consideration to be awarded a gaming licence and we believe that experienced operators will be interested in the potential of integrated entertainment facilities and support the government’s aim to boost Vietnam’s tourism competitiveness,” said Mr Small.
He added: “We are seeking facilities and strategies that are focused on attracting foreign tourists from greater Asia, with a particular focus on inbound tourists from China and greater Asia.”
Locals are currently barred from playing in Vietnamese casinos. Vietnam’s government is reportedly considering a draft decree that if enacted might allow local citizens to enter casinos under certain conditions. One possible condition is an income test. Another suggested barrier is to impose an entry levy on Vietnamese citizens in the manner of Singapore.
Allowing locals to play – even under restricted conditions – is likely to boost the interest of foreign investors in the country, local and international media have reported.
Jonathan Galaviz of Global Market Advisors said in a press statement on Monday: “Our team looks forward to interacting with senior executives in the global gaming industry on this very unique opportunity. Vietnam’s tourism and gaming sector is growing and this project aligns with a story of economic growth.”
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Secretary Eduardo Año
Officer-in-charge at the Philippine Department of Local and Interior Government