A bill to reform gaming taxes in Vietnam’s special economic zones remains on hold and is unlikely to be passed anytime soon, according to Professor Augustine Ha Ton Vinh.
Speaking on a panel at iGaming Asia Congress at Macau’s Studio City on Thursday, Professor Augustine warned that the impasse could discourage new operators from entering the market. The legislation is seen as key to attracting foreign investment in large tourism and hospitality projects such as integrated resorts.
Vietnam’s tax on gaming currently stands as high as 35%, meaning “not so many operators will come to Vietnam,” Professor Vinh said.
The bill, intended to ease fiscal pressure on operators by creating a special regime linked to certain development zones, has been delayed since last year due to political opposition.
Meanwhile, Professor Augustine made public on Thursday the fact that Silver Heritage Group’s Vietnam casino, Phoenix International Club, was shut down earlier this month because the Australian-listed company was running gaming tables under a license that only allowed it to operate electronic gaming machines.
Silver Heritage conveyed similar information to Inside Asian Gaming in conversations at the time, stating that the company put its hand up to regional authorities as soon as it learned of the licensing issue.
According to Professor Augustine, Silver Heritage could look for compensation in the Vietnam courts.
Vietnam divides licenses into three tiers: hotels, sport betting and gaming lounges. The casino at Phoenix International Club was allegedly operating under the gaming lounge tier which allows only for electronic gaming such as slot machines.