Vietnamese casino owners are said to have petitioned authorities to allow locals entry to gamble in response to a lack of business due to COVID-19.
According to a report by VNExpress International, a group of casino owners believe they should be allowed to capitalize on domestic demand amid falling revenues over the past 12 months. No specific operators were named in the report although it pointed to casino facilities in locations such as Quang Nam and Ba Ria – Vung Tau.
Only two casinos in Vietnam are currently designated for locals to gamble and only one of those, Corona Resort & Casino in Phú Quốc, is currently operational under the nation’s three-year pilot program. The second of three casinos to be designated as a locals venue under the trial, located in the rural district of Vân Đồn in Quảng Ninh Province, has yet to open.
However, there are also strict entry requirements under the pilot program, which is limited to Vietnamese citizens who are over 21 and able to show monthly income of at least VND10 million (US$431). They must also pay an entry tax of VND1 million per 24 hours.
Corona opened in January 2019 as Vietnam’s first casino for locals and attracted 105,000 casino visitors throughout the year, of which 47,400 or 45% were Vietnamese.
Although it seems unlikely that authorities would open up locals gambling at this stage, Vietnam’s Ministry of Finance (MOF) last year released a report recommending the amendment of certain provisions of Decree 03/2017 governing the nation’s casinos to ease the burden on operators and investors amid substantial losses within the sector.
Those recommendations included removing a requirement for casino and integrated resort investors to pay at least 50% of total investment capital for a project before it can be granted its license, and eased restrictions on advertising.