Vietnam’s authorities have reportedly approved the inclusion of a casino in a resort on the island of Phu Quoc, local media reported. Significantly, the project has been allowed to join a three-year trial scheme permitting Vietnamese into selected casinos, reports added.
Online media VnExpress reported on Thursday that the People’s Committee of Kien Giang Province – where Phu Quoc is located – had announced that the country’s Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc had approved in principle the inclusion of a casino in the resort. It added the overall investment in the project – including the casino portion – was now set at VND50 trillion (US$2.14 billion).
It was unclear from the media reports as to when the casino portion would open to public. The overall resort – to also include hotels, shops and conference facilities – is to be completed by 2021.
The Phu Quoc casino is reportedly promoted by Phu Quoc Tourism Development and Investment JSC. The latter is controlled by Vietnamese conglomerate Vingroup, which owns 50 percent of the company.
The government lifted a ban on Vietnamese gambling in casinos in March 2017, following a decree in January 2017 allowing a trial project for gambling by economically-qualified locals at certain venues. But the market had still been awaiting news of how that policy would be applied in practice.
Customers must be older than 21 and have a monthly income of at least VND10 million. Only casino resorts with a total capital investment of at least US$2 billion – including gaming and non-gaming facilities – are eligible to welcome Vietnamese to gamble.
In November 2017, Augustine Ha Ton Vinh told GGRAsia the Vietnamese government was likely to open two casinos to local customers. Mr Ha, an academic who has advised the government on liberalising Vietnam’s gaming industry, said a resort in Northern Vietnam at Van Don and a second one on Phu Quoc Island would be among the first to admit locals.
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